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~Navy of the Republic of Texas 




Dr. Alex Dicnst 

Temple, Texas 


The citizen of Texas, traveling in the United States, is 
often-times shocked to find that comparatively few people are 
aware that Texas for ten years was an independent Republic. 
However, this ignorance is by no means confined to people out- 
side of Texas; even informed Texans are surprised to learn that 
Texas in her struggle for independence, and the maintaining of 
that independence, possessed a Navy, powerful enough to aid 
her in the struggle, and to successfully combat every effort of 
Mexico to regain her territory. 

While in comparison with the great navies of to-day, the 
navy of the infant Republic was exceedingly small, yet it was 
greater in its infancy, and better organized, than was the navy 
of the United States in 1776, and the first year of that memo- 
rable struggle for independence. The part that the Texas Navy 
acted from 1835 to 1846 has never been related. The leading 
historians of Texas repeatedly testify that the navywas a val- 
uable factor in securing Texas independence, but while admit- 
ting this much, they almost without exception fail to chronicle 
any events in which the navy participated; nothing is said re- 
garding its organization, maintenance, or successes, and the few 
historians that do give it notice have allowed numerous errors 
to creep into their statements, and succeeding historians have 
repeated the errors. 

While students may differ in opinion as to what would 
have ultimately been the fate of the country we now call Texas, 
none will dispute the assertion that Texas could not at the 
time have won her independence and maintaind it as she did, 
without the navy. This is an incontrovertible fact that I shall 
repeatedly prove in this history. Without a navy to protect 
her extensive coast, transports laden with thousands of Mexican 
soldiers, and thousands of tons of provisions, could have been 
landed in Texas at all times by Mexico, and would have been 
landed; and this overwhelming force would have conquered 
the Texans. Furthermore, Texas could have been certain of 
no supplies from New Orleans, whence came three-fourths of 
all her troops, supplies, and cash, if the carrying vessels in the 
trade between New Orleans and Texas had not been reasonably 
sure of protection against Mexican war vessels. Few merchants 
in New Orleans would have been willing to hazard their pre- 
cious cargoes, with the probability of a Mexican war vessel cap- 
turing the same, which happened at times even with a Texas 


Navy, and without such a Navy, would have been the rule. 
Another great benefit of the navy to the struggling revolution- 
ists was the revenue derived from its prizes and captures, and 
by the Government acknowledged as an invaluable contribution 
in time of need. Another way in which it was a help was the 
able way in which it blocked the enemy's ports, and harassed 
the commerce of Mexico, and by this means proving to the 
United States, and leading foreign governments, the stability 
of the young Republic, and her ability to keep the independence 
she had won at San Jacinto. The ability thus demonstrated 
to the world won her recognition as an independent Republic 
by foreign powers. 

My attention was attracted to this field of labor many 
years ago, by the numerous references I found to the Texas Navy 
in the files of New Orleans newspapers of 1835-45. As early 
as 1897 I was concentrating my efforts in securing Texas his- 
torical material bearing upon the navy. In October, 1900, in 
an article on the value of the New Orleans newspaper files of 
the Texas Revolutionary period, which appeared in the Quar- 
terly of the Texas State Historical Association, I made the 
statement that I would write a history of the navy of the 
Revolution. Upon further reflection I concluded to write the 
history of the navy throughout its existence, and this, necessitat- 
ing much more research and labor, has occupied all my spare 
moments for the past few years. Had I written this preface 
before I finished the work, I should no doubt have remarked 
that it was a "labor of love" — writing the preface at the close 
of nine years of unremitting labor, irksome, tedious, with the 
drudgery of copying, correcting, and so forth, the expression 
would be anything but truthful; only those who have labored 
similarly can appreciate fully what toil and self-denial are re- 
quired to gather, classify, record, reflect upon, and select the 
material for such a work as this. I would not have attempted 
to carry out the work if I had thought anyone else would per- 
form it; but having much valuable material bearing upon the 
subject, and my inclination leaning that way, I was compelled 
by the responsibility I felt to write what I have, in order that 
this much of the history of our beloved Texas should not be 

As to my qualifications for the work I have here under- 
taken, I have none to boast of, save a deep love for the per- 
petuation of the daring and heroic deeds of the first American 
pioneers of Texas. Not a native Texan, though coming here 
before I was twenty-one, and not related to any character in 
this history, and not having been acquainted with a single sur- 
vivor, and only in one instance being acquainted with the de- 
scendant of such, the writer of this book has an advantage that 

a contemporaneous historian can not possess. I have been free 
from prejudice, and not biased by friendship or ties of blood 
to view any act, save on the principles of truth. In the course 
of the history, necessarily, conflicting evidences from most re- 
liable sources at times occur; in such cases I have given the gen- 
tlemen on both sides the credit of being sincere in their state- 
ments — unless unquestionable proof shows the contrary; it has 
been my aim to present controversial matter from the view- 
point of each individual, and let the reader form his own con- 
clusions, if there is any doubt. Where the original documents 
have been accessible, and the proof is clearly for one man or 
another, I have never hesitated to declare, "Thou art the man," 
and having the opportunity to read all the documents in full — ■ 
whereas many are here only alluded to, or quoted in part — I 
have been better qualified to do this than my predecessors, who 
have here and there had a fragment or a sketch to guide them, 
and have written more to defend or advance an opinion than 
to review the history impartially and give the absolute facts. 
There would have been certain advantages in writing a history 
of the navy fifty years ago; but it is confidently believed by 
the author that the advantages of collecting all materials at 
this late day, and sifting them, and winnowing the good from 
the bad, will outweigh the disadvantages that time brings in 
the destruction of historical materials. 

As regards the collecting of material for this history, the 
author believes it will be worthy of a short space. While I 
have been peculiarly fortunate in my search, and have un- 
earthed some material that would have been inaccessible to 
anyone else, there is no excuse for historians having neglected to 
mention the navy for lack of material; much of value could 
have at all times been found at Austin by a little research; it 
is true that a great deal of matter relative to naval history was 
burned at Austin in 1855, and in other fires, but still, the 
various departments had documents supplemental and explan- 
atory of the navy. According to the testimony of Judge C. W. 
Raines, in his "Bibliography of Texas," the departments have 
never been so well investigated by historians as the rich material 
there would justify. As the material accessible to the historian 
stamps the value of the work in a large measure, I desire to 
give a brief description of some of the material used in the 
work. The history is in two parts. Texas had two distinct 
navies; and part one recites the history of the first naval estab- 
lishment from 1835 to 1839. Part two describes the second 
naval establishment from 1839 to 1846. 

In the history of the first navy, I get much of my material 
from the New Orleans newspaper files — of which I have the 
only known collection from 1835 to 1837. All official docu- 

ments such as acts, decrees, etc., of the Texas Government were 
sent to William Bryan, Texas agent, in New Orleans, and also 
to William Christy, a true friend of Texas; their collections, 
made during the revolution and carefully preserved by them, 
came into my possession some ten years ago. Many of these 
documents have no duplicates, and are now for the first time 
cited in a history of Texas. The late Judge C. W. Raines, in 
1898, drew my attention to the papers of William A. Tennison 
of the Texas Navy. I purchased these, and found them very 
reliable and valuable. Judge J. G. Tod, while Secretary of 
State, furnished me with copies of all documents relative to the 
Texas Navy, in the Department of State: in the work itself I 
have taken pleasure in giving testimony to his good will. One 
of the most helpful works, and an indispensable one to the 
worker in Texas history, not residing in Austin, is the Gam- 
mel "Reprint of Texas Laws." Through the kindness of Sec- 
retary Long, of the U. S. N. Department, I was furnished by 
the Librarian of Naval War Records, copies of valuable docu- 
ments, and have had forwarded to me some rare books, from 
which I made accurate copies of pamphlets they contained, bear- 
ing upon the quarrel between Commodore E. W. Moore and 
President Sam Houston upon the incorporation of Texas Naval 
Officers into the U. S. Navy. Moore's Appeal is probably the 
most valuable single work relative to the second navy of Texas; 
but one copy of this is existing at this late day, so far as I know, 
and I have found it absolutely reliable as regards documents 
cited, being, as it is, a work especially to vindicate one character 
and attacking another, the views and conclusions reached by 
the author must be carefully examined before being accepted. 
The early newspapers of Texas, 1835-45, have been very help- 
ful, and many valuable facts gathered from them. The earlier 
historians of Texas, Edward, Newell, Foote, and Kennedy, 
wrote their histories before 1841, and of course did not have 
the opportunity given them to say much concerning this arm 
of the national defense; those who came after them should have 
given the navy a more prominent place. Yoakum, who had 
very excellent opportunities, gives about seven pages to the navy; 
his statements contain several errors. Thrall, including bio- 
graphical sketches, gives about four pages, containing some good 
matter, but also a number of errors. Bancroft gives the same 
space as Yoakum, with very little new material. Brown, who 
had splendid opportunities for getting accurate information, 
makes gross errors in the four pages he devotes to the Navy. 
Morphis has some four pages, copied from the other histories; 
he presents no new matter. Pennybacker's school history, used 
in all public schools, is of course intended only as a primary 
work, and not much original research work is expected in such 
a work; yet, it appears to me that more space might be devoted 

to the navy which did so much for Texas than appears in this 
volume; less than one page is devoted to the first navy, and not 
one word is said in regard to Commodore Moore and the sec- 
ond Navy; while four times as much space is given to an al- 
leged speech of Travis, which is the first time mentioned in the 
Texas Almanac nearly forty years after it was supposed to have 
been delivered, and only vouched for by a man named Rose, 
who was too cowardly to remain in the Alamo. 

In writing the history of the Texas Navy my aim has been 
to write in such a manner as to entertain the critical student, 
and the general reader. I am desirous of avoiding a parade of 
honesty in acknowledging the sources of facts given in this his- 
tory, but there has been such a shameful method of appropriat- 
ing other men's researches, without due acknowledgment by 
historians, that I have become peculiarly sensitive to withhold- 
ing credit where it is due. To the critical student these ac- 
knowledgments enhance the value of the work; to the general 
reader I can only express the hope that he will let the notes 
interrupt as little as possible the flow of thought, and that they 
might not unduly detract or mar the interest which the facts 
related are calculated to awaken. The laws of unity must also 
be violated in a work of this nature; certain facts and incidents 
pertaining to the navy, although not necessarily belonging to 
any particular chapter, must be mentioned somewhere; to weave 
them gracefully into the narrative is out of the question, at 
times, so the best that was possible was done. In gathering 
material for this history, I have always gone to the sources 
where accessible; and given credit where it is due. In crediting 
an article, I have given the preference of authority to the earliest 
and most reliable official acts, such as; Official Proclamations, 
Acts, Decrees, Ordinances, Convention and Council and Legis- 
lative doings; after these, log books, official letters, newspapers 
and pamphlets, journals of officers, histories and miscellaneous 
matter, such as unofficial letters and reminiscences. In the 
standard histories, such as Kennedy, Yoakum, Brown and Ban- 
croft, credit or reference to the source is not always given by 
them. Bancroft is better than the rest in this respect; but in no 
case is material taken from these sources, if the credit is due 
elsewhere: in other words, if a reliable newspaper article gives 
information in 1836 that is exactly the same as embodied in one 
of the above histories, and the history does not give credit, I 
give credit to the newspaper that first furnished the article, and 
so, if Yoakum and Bancroft both mention the same fact, I give 
Yoakum credit and not Bancroft, as Yoakum wrote some forty- 
five years before Bancroft. And so, too, respecting official doc- 
uments: wherever possible, the original documents are cited, 
rather than excerpts made from them, and incorporated in some 
history. At all times the sources have been most diligently 

worked for, and where documents are rare, attention is called 
to their existence and their location at this day. The author is 
unwilling to send forth this book without specially mentioning 
a few friends, who, by their encouraging words and efforts, 
have cheered him on when his zeal was flagging. Mention has 
already been made of the kindness of the late Judge Raines and 
Judge Tod. In the body of the work I allude to favors shown 
be by the late Dr. George P. Garrison of the State University. 
The late Lester Bugbee inspired me with a desire to do some- 
thing towards unfolding and developing Texas History; and 
William Winkler has put me under obligations for kindnesses; 
and I desire to thank Eugene C. Barker of the State University 
for helpful suggestions. 

Alex. Dienst. 

Temple, Texas, Jan. 1, 1909. 

Tabic of Contents 


Chapter I. The "Correo Mexicano" & "San Felipe" 1 

Chapter II. Organization of the Navy - 9 

Chapter III. The Texan Privateers ----- 20 

Chapter IV. Naval Vessels Bought and Equipped - 32 

Chapter V. The "Liberty" ------- 39 

Chapter VI. Texan Man of War "Invincible" - - 42 

Chapter VII. Texan Man of War "Brutus" - - - 51 

Chapter VIII. Texan Man of War "Independence" - 55 

Chapter IX. Measures taken to procure another Navy 66 

Chapter X. Early Troubles of the New Navy - - 77 

Chapter XI. Cruise of the Texan Navy 1840-1841 - 82 

Chapter XII. Texas and Yucatan Alliance 94 

Chapter XIII. The Mutiny on Board the "San 

Antonio" 107 

Chapter XIV. Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at 
New Orleans and His Agreement 

With Yucatan - - - - - - - 1 1 1 

Chapter XV. Engagements of Texan and Mexican 
Navies off the Yucatan Coast and 
Houston's Proclamation Against 

Moore - - - 128 

Chapter XVI. Dismissal of Moore, Lothrop. and 
Snow From Service and Trial of 

Moore - - 135 

Chapter XVII. Final Disposition of the Vessels of the 

Navy - - - - 140 

"My Little Pinnance, strike thy sailes, 
Let slip thy anchor; the winde failes, 
And seamen oft in calmes do feare 
That foule and boistrous weather s neate; 
If a robustious storme should rise, 
And bluster from censorious eyes, 
Al though the swelling waves be rough, 
And proud, thy harbour s safe enough. 
Rest, rest awhile, till ebbing tides 
Shall make thee stanche and breme thy sides, 
When windes shall serve, hoist up thy saile, 
And fly before a prosp'rous gale; 
That all the Coasters may resort, 
And bid thee welcome to thy port." 

2b i. c/fUx ^Umt 


Dr. Alex Dienst was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1870, 
and moved to Texas at the age of twenty-one. After study- 
ing medicine and dentistry in Philadelphia, he established 
himself as a dentist in Temple, Texas, and practiced his 
profession intermittently until his death in 1938. He be- 
came an enthusiastic student of Texas history and a col- 
lector of books and source materials dealing particularly 
with the Texas revolution, which he generously placed at 
the disposal of historical scholars. As his collection grew, 
he found that it tended to emphasize the history of the 
Texas Navy, about which historians had written very lit- 
tle, and he determined to put in its proper light the im- 
portant service of the navy in the establishment of the 
Republic of Texas. His study appeared in four numbers 
of The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Associa- 
tion, beginning with the issue of January, 1909. This 
copy, with a slight rearrangement of the original make- 
up, is one that he re-printed privately for distribution to 
friends. It is comprehensive and soundly based on a com- 
plete understanding of source material, and will always be 
a useful and authoritative study of the subject. 

For twenty years Dr. Dienst was a valuable member of 
the Executive Council and for three years was President 
of the Texas State Historical Association. He was keenly 
interested in politics and people, and one of the intermis- 
sions from his professional office was employed as post- 
master of Temple by appointment of President Woodrow 
Wilson. Time saw greater and great absorption in his 
study of Texas history. Besides his history of the Navy, 
he published in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, in 
1917, a significant collection of "Contemporary Poetry of 
the Texas Revolution, " compiled mostly from Texas and 
New Orleans newspapers. During his later years he gave 
much time to the promotion of his beloved specialty in free 
public lectures on what he called "the grand theme of the 
Pioneers of Texas." To sponsors of these lectures and 
patriotic societies he made three stipulations: (1) that 
his baie traveling expenses be reimbursed; (2) that no 
admission be charged; and (3) that he be allowed to finish 

his speech, which he warned, "means two hours and fif- 
teen minutes speaking by a very great lover of Texas 

Dr. Dienst was a genial, kindly man, critical but toler- 
ant, and with a lively sense of humor which he could apply 
to himself. Much of his great collection of Texana is now 
appropriately a part of the library of The University of 


Professor of American History, 
The University of Texas. 




Throughout the first half of 1835 serious misunderstandings 
and difficulties had occurred between the merchants and the col- 
lector of the maritime customhouse of Galveston, Texas, in re- 
lation to the collection of duties. 1 In the hope of averting trouble 
and of bringing about a peaceable adjustment, the ayuntamiento 
of Liberty, in the deparment of Nacogdoches, issued a manifesto 2 
to the effect "that the revenue laws, like all other political laws, 
are to be respected by all those who come within the legitimate 
sphere of their actions; and although these laws may be unwise, 
to resist them by force is more unwise and ill timed than the laws 
themselves." The manifesto goes on to say that the duties are 
oppressive, disproportionate, and in need of modification; but that 
this change must be a legal one, and not brought about by force. 
And the dissatisfied citizens are urged to abstain from any violent 
measures towards the collector of the maritime customs of Gal- 
veston. Notwithstanding this conservative counsel, Captain Ten- 
or io and his small garrison stationed at Anahuac to guard the 
port against smuggling and afford protection to the collector of 
customs, were attacked by William B. Travis and fifty armed 
Texans and forced to leave. This act of the Texans and Ameri- 
cans at Anahuac was condemned by the municipality of Liberty 

^he author must refer the general reader who is desirous of becoming 
acquainted with the details leading up to the revolution in Texas, to the 
histories of the State, and to such monographic accounts as relate to this 
period. Only such matter of a general nature will be inserted as is neces- 
sary to introduce and present a connected account of the movements of the 
naval vessels of Texas and Mexico. 

-Texas Republican, May 30, 1835. The manifesto is dated April 7, 
1835; Edward [History of Texas, 235-38) erroneously prints it under the 
date of June 1. See Eugene C. Barker, "Difficulties of a Mexican Revenue 
Officer, iti THE QUABTEBLY, IV, 194, note 3. 

"The alcalde in his separate capacity combined the larger powers of our 
mayors and justices of (he peace. Hie duties of the regidores assimilated 

2 The Correo Mexicano and the San Felipe. 

and the Central Committee. 1 A sensational account of the attack 
on the revenue officer was carried to General Cos, who, being not 
yet aware that it did not carry with it the endorsement of the 
majority of the Texans, in July ordered the sloop of war Correo 
Mexicano, commanded by Captain T. M. Thompson, to the scene 
of action to protect Mexican commerce. 2 In violation of orders, 3 
Thompson bullied the citizens and traders at Anahuac, threatened 
to burn the town, 4 and proved himself utterly unfit for the deli- 
cate task of upholding Mexican authority and calming the ex- 
citement of the people. 

Thompson's most serious mistake was the capture of the Ameri- 
can brig Tremont. This vessel was in the Texan trade, 5 and 
though I have searched diligently I can find nowhere any reason 
given for his attack. 6 No historian gives even a hint as to his 

to those of our alderman, and the sindicos corresponded with recorders. 
These sitting together composed the Ayuntamiento, which had jurisdiction 
over the entire community." — Lynch, The Bench and Bar of Texas, 20. 

a Edward, History of Texas, 235; Kennedy, Texas, II, 92-94; Yoakum, 
History of Texas, I, 339; Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, II, 
156. (These works will be henceforth cited in this narrative respectively 
as Edward, Kennedy, Yoakum, and Bancroft.) But Edward errs in citing 
here as proof of censure for an act which occurred June 30 a proclamation 
which he dates June I, and which was actually issued April 17 and pub- 
lished May 30. See above, p. 1, note 2. 

-Captain Thompson was an Englishman by birth, and was at this time 
an adopted citizen of Mexico. He had been in the Mexican service some 
years. His appearance was unprepossessing, and he was reported to be 
striving to make a fortune by fair means or foul. He was misunderstood 
at this time, or his character changed materially; for later on he was very 
kind to Texas prisoners, and ultimately took the side of the Texans. Ed- 
ward, 248; Yoakum, I, 356; Bancroft, II, 161. Edward (248) and Ken- 
nedy (II, 94) claim that his instructions were to make observations, and 
find out whether the collector and his men had been massacred by the 
Americans, as had been reported, and return to Matamoras as soon as 
possible with his information. 

3 Colonel Ugartechea himself admitted this much in a letter to Stephen 
F. Austin, dated October 4, 1835, saying, "I know you are right to com- 
plain of Thompson's proceedings, which I still less approve, as they were 
arbitrary; he having no authority to act in such manner." Yoakum, I, 
356. Captain Thompson issued a "Proclamation to the citizens of Ana- 
huac," July 26, 1835. It is printed in full in Brown, Life of Henry Smith, 
63, et seq. 

4 Travis to Bowie, July 30, 1835, MS. 

5 Pennybacker, History of Texas, 117, calls the Tremont a United States 
naval vessel. This is a mistake; it was a trading vessel. 

The explanation apparently is that Thompson had arbitrarily declared 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. .. 3 

reason. The nearest explanation I can find in his favor is de- 
rived from an article in the New Orleans newspapers, signed 
"Seventy-six." It is a reply to a defence of Thompson which I 
am unfortunately unable to locate, but from the communication 
of "Seventy-six" it can be gathered that Thompson's defender as- 
serted that he was sent to the Texas coast to interrupt the impor- 
tation of negroes from Cuba. J. will give the comment in part, 
as it will also furnish some details of the capture which I can find 
nowhere else : 

Mr. Editor: My attention was last evening called to an article 
in an evening journal, headed "Texas and the United States Dis- 
trict Attorney at Jtfew Orleans, vs. Louisiana, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama and Arkansas," which contains a most violent and abusive 
attack against the individuals in this country whose feelings have 
been aroused in favor of an oppressed and deceived people, strug- 
ling to maintain their rights of civil liberty : an attempt to as- 
sert the innocence of Captain Thompson now waiting a trial for 
piracy. They are also charged with bringing negroes into Texas, 
in violation of the constitution of 1824, while in fact there is no 
provision, in the constitution prohibiting the introduction of ne- 
groes from Cuba or elsewhere. The writer adds that Captain 
Thompson was sent out to prevent this traffic, and we venture to 
assert that not one syllable is said on the subject in his instruc- 
tions, and if he had those instructions, we w^ould ask if he acted 
in pursuance of them when he took the American brig Tremont 
as a prize, loaded with lumber, and how much of the treaty be- 
" tween the United States and Mexico he fulfilled, when he re- 
quired the Captain of the Tremont to come on board the Correo 
with his papers, while that treaty expressly provided that a Mex- 
ican armed vessel shall board an American Merchantman by send- 
ing one of her officers on board, with not more than three men, 
and shall in no case require the Captain of the Merchantman to 
leave the vessel with his papers. 

That negroes were imported into Texas from Cuba, and even from 
Africa direct, at this time, is generally conceded ; Fannin, the Texas 
martyr, was himself accused of importation of African slaves by 

a blockade of the Brazos, and that he attacked the Tremont for violating 

the blockade. See sworn statement of A. J. Yates, I. N. Moreland, and 

A. C. Allen in Texas Republican, September 10, 1835. — Editors of 

4 The Correo Mexicano and the San Felipe. 

no less a man than S. Khoads Fisher, later Secretary of the Texan 
Navy. 1 This version of the matter might also account for the 
great anger of the Americans at Anahuac, who may have been 
awaiting the arrival of a slaver, in order to purchase their wares 
and cross over the Sabine with cheaper negroes than could be 
purchased in the United States. In favor of this theory is the 
note which Bancroft 2 inserts without comment that "Washington 
Stiles, one of the crew of the Tremont, in the trial of Thompson 
at New Orleans for piracy, swore that Thompson said that if he 
could capture two American vessels, the Tremont and the San 
Felipe, his fortune would be made and he would stop." Just 
how his fortune would be made by capturing a vessel loaded with 
lumber, as the Tremont was, is not clear, but if it was loaded 
with two or three hundred negroes selling at one dollar a pound, 
his statement looks reasonable, as there was an active demand for 
negroes at this price. The Tremont was captured September 1, 
but Thompson's previous acts had so exasperated the Texans that 
they had already determined to seize the Correo and accomplish 
his downfall. 

It was in pursuance of this design that the Texan trading- 
schooner San FeWpe arrived off the mouth of the Brazos, Septem- 
ber 1, just as a prize crew from the Correo was weighing anchor 
on the Tremont. The San Felipe was purchased in New Orleans 
for Texas by Thomas F. McKinney, a prosperous merchant of 
Quintana, and associated at that time in business with Samuel M. 
Williams. The price paid for the vessel was $8,965 "including 
freight on board when taken/' 3 which would, lead one to believe 
that the purchasers were in a great hurry indeed, not to have time 
to unload the freight, — unless said freight consisted of holloware 
(cannon) as Edward states, and was such goods as they wanted. 
Captain William A. Hurd was put in command. 4 Captain Thomp- 

^roadside (December 17, 1835), "To the People of Texas," in Dienst, 
Collection of Documents (cited henceforth as Dienst, Col. Doc), II, 23; 
see below p. 24; Eugene C. Barker, in Quarterly, VI, 152. 

"Bancroft, II, 161, note 23. Bancroft is here quoting from Winthrop, 
Report of the Trial of Thomas M. Thompson, 3, 16, which I have not seen. 
3 Dienst, Col. Doc, II, 16. 
4 Edward, 249. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 5 

son of the Correo was aware of the intentions of the San Felipe 
and was keeping a sharp lookout for her, and seemed in no way 
disposed to evade her attack. 1 At 8 o'clock in the evening the 
Correo came up, and without warning fired into the San Felipe. 2 
Bancroft says the fight lasted only three quarters of an hour. The 
Texas Republican, 3 which gives the best of the meager accounts, 

On the arrival of the Schr. San Felipe, Capt. Hurd, at the bar 
of the Brazos, she was attacked by the piratical schooner Correo, 
Capt. Thompson, and after an engagement of two hours the Cor- 
reo made oil', but was pursued, overtaken and captured by the San 
Felipe and brought back. The officers and crew consisted of Cap- 
tain T., 1st and 2d Lieutenants and 14 seamen. During the en- 
gagement one of the crew of the Correo, a native of Baltimore 
named Blackburn, received a mortal wound, of which he died two 
days after. Capt. Hurd took command of the Correo and de- 
parted for New Orleans, with the pirates in chains, leaving Capt. 
Grayson in command of the San Felipe to follow. 4 

The San Felipe had a very short career after this engagement. 
I can find no further mention of her in any history; but Edward 
Hall says in a letter to Stephen F. Austin that the San Felipe 
went in pursuit of a Mexican armed vessel and was lost in Mata- 
gorda Bay, that the heavy cannon had been saved and was on Bird 
Island, and that he had heard from Matagorda that the schooner 
William Robbins sailed from there on the 13th with the intention 
of picking up the gun and taking it to the Brazos. 5 It seems, 
however, that the San Felipe was only aground, and not wrecked. 
In a letter addressed to the General Council by Thomas F. Mc- 
Kinney, dated November 11, he stated that they succeeded in get- 
ting the schooner off, and that, in company with the William Rob- 

1 Letter from J. W. Fannin, Jr., in Dienst, Col. Doc, II, 23. 

2 Yoakum, II, 162. Edward, 24!), claims that the San Felipe was hailed, 
and that she replied with shot, and thus fired first. This is merely an 

"Issue of September 1!). is.".."), in Austin Pipers; cf. Bancroft, Tl, 102. 

<Tn the Telegraph and Texas Register, October 15, 1837, Captain Thomp- 
son states that the steamboat Laura assisted in this capture. Bancroft 
(II, 162) says: "An engagement followed, which lasted for three-quarters 
of an hour, when Thompson drew off. Tn the morning the San Felipe, 
taken in tow by a small steamboat, the Laura, went in pursuit of the 
Correo, which was almost becalmed about six miles oil. The Mexican cap- 
tain surrendered without further fi^atin^." 

Hall to Austin, November 2:5. 1835. Austin Tapers. 

6 The Correo Mexicano and the San Felipe. 

bins she would go at once to New Orleans. He said that on last 
Thursday, while the San Felipe lay on the beach, she exchanged sev- 
eral shots with a Mexican vessel, and he thought that some shot 
hit the Mexican, which put to sea. 1 Nothing further can be found 
relative to her, except a resolution of the General Council of Jan- 
uary 17, 1836, by which E. E. Eoyall was appointed agent to take 
charge of and secure the wreck of the schooner and whatever be- 
longed to her, then lying on the beach in or near Paso Cavallo 
and report to the Government. 2 

Meanwhile, Captain Thompson and his Lieutenant O'Campo 
were carried to New Orleans and in January, 1836, they were tried 
on a charge of piracy in the Federal District Court, the suit being 
termed, "The United States vs. Thompson." 3 New Orleans sym- 
pathy was largely with Texas, and the excitement seems to have 
reached the attorneys on both sides. P. Soule, one of Thompsons 
attorneys, and H. Carleton, United States District Attorney, passed 
the lie between them, and threw at each other inkstands, books, 
etc., for which Judge Harper of the United States District Court 
sentenced them each to six hours imprisonment. The jury sat on 
the case one whole night, and brought in a verdict to acquit 
O'Campo. It was not able to agree in Thompson's case, and the 
court ordered a new trial. Mr. Carleton thereupon, with leave of 
the court, entered a nolle prosequi, and the prisoners were dis- 
charged. 4 

The New Orleans Courier 5 said concerning the trial. "The issue 
of the suit ... is indeed a very remarkable one — such, it 
may be said, as never happened before — the pirates set at liberty 
and the Attorneys committed to jail." The Commercial Bulletin 6 
gave the following account of it: 

1 Proceedi)H!s of the General Council, 10. 

"-Ibid., 346. 

3 The Courier, January 14 and 16, 1836; New Orleans News of various 
dates — all in Dienst, Col. Doc, I, 5. 

4 Yoakum (I, 356) says Thompson was acquitted. This is not so; an ac- 
quittal would imply that the San Felipe had erred in capturing him, which 
a withdrawal of the charge does not necessarily imply. Thompson had a 
bad case to defend, as he could not produce his commission at the trial; 
but it is to Mexico's credit that she nevertheless sustained him. 

5 In its issue for January 16, 1836. 

6 For January 18, 1836. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 

On Saturday last, the Judge of the United States District Court 
of this city, having ordered the commitment of the District At- 
torney and of Mr. Soule, in consequence of an altercation which 
took place between those gentlemen during the trial of Thomson, 
a large number of the friends of the District Attorney visited him 
during his short confinement. 

While they were assembled in the room where the District At- 
torney was confined, Dr. Archer, one of the Commissioners from 
Texas, addressed Eandell Hunt, Esq., the assistant Counsel of the 
District Attorney in the trial of Thomson, in a very eloquent 
manner, expressing his own satisfaction and that of his fellow- 
citizens of Texas, for the able and powerful address of Mr. Hunt 
delivered to the Jury in that cause, and for his bold and righteous 
vindication of the cause of Texas in her present struggle for Civil 
Liberty, and concluded by saying that his fellow-citizens could give 
no adequate compensation to his efforts, and his expression of 
those sentiments, but they desired his acceptance of some testi- 
monials of their approbation and esteem. He then presented Mr. 
Hunt in the name of the Citizens of Texas, with a very splendid 
Gold Lever, the most valuable that could be found in this city, 
engraved inside the case, with the following inscription: "Pre- 
sented by the Citizens of Texas to Eandell Hunt, Esq., in testi- 
mony of their esteem of his exalted talents, and eloquent vindi- 
cation of the cause of Truth, Justice and Civil Liberty/' This, 
with a very superb cane and some other valuable jewels, were re- 
ceived by Mr. Hunt, and on receiving them with a letter, which 
we have inserted below, he made a very appropriate and eloquent 

New Orleans, Jan. 16, 1836. 
Eandell Hunt, Esq. 

Dear Sir — The undersigned respectfully request your accept- 
ance of the enclosed, as a slight testimonial of their personal es- 
teem, and an expression of their admiration of the able and elo- 
quent address delivered to the Jury by yourself last evening — of 
your powerful effort in the cause of truth and Justice, ami last. 
not least, the warm and heartfelt expression of your sympathies 
for their oppressed and struggling country and your righteous 
vindication of their conduct in the present crisis. Thai the most 

8 The Correo Mexicano and the San Felipe. 

brilliant success may attend your career, and the talents and learn- 
ing which you possess ever be engaged in as just and holy a cause 
as the one you have so eloquently sustained, whether it be to shield 
the innocent, or punish the guilty — and that you may reap a rich 
reward in your own heart, and the approbation of your fellow 
citizens, is the sincere prayer of 

Your obedient servants, 

Adolphus Storm [Sterne], B. T. Archer, 

W. H. Bynum, S. F. Austin, 

John A. Wharton, W. H. Wharton, 

A. Hotchkiss, W. G. Logan, 

Wm. Bryan, J. Scott, 

A. C. Allen, A. J. Yates. 

New Orleans, Jan. 17, 1836. 

Gentlemen — I acknowledge with the deepest sensibility, and the 
most unfeigned thanks, the receipt of your letter, and of the tes- 
timonials which accompany it. 

When I consented to act with the District Attorney in the pros- 
ecution of Thompson, I did so with a single regard to the prin- 
ciples of truth, and justice, and liberty, and in the expectation of 
receiving no other reward than the consciousness of an honorable 
effort to serve my country on that occasion, to the best of my 
abilities. Judge then of my surprise, pleasure and pride I have 
experienced at the thanks, commendation and kindness heaped 
upon me by you all of whom are gentlemen of the highest respect- 
ability for private worth, and many of whom are destined to fill 
some of the brightest pages of the history of these times ; it is an 
honor of which the most distinguished man of this age might well 
feel proud. 

If the defence of the principles of liberty be, as I feel assured, 
one of the highest duties of the profession to which I belong, I 
shall never cease to rejoice that that defence, in connection with 
the cause of Texas, became a part of my duty on the occasion to 
which you have adverted. A native American, I cannot but feel 
the deepest interest in the success of a people, connected with us 
by the ties of a common origin, and a common regard for equal 
rights, and bravely struggling for constitutional liberty. God 
speed the noble work ! 

Accept, gentlemen, once more my acknowledgements for the 
testimonials of esteem with which you have honored me, and re- 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 9 

ceive in return my best wishes for your individual happiness, and 
the welfare of your country. 

I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 


To Messrs. B. T. Archer, etc. 

Thus happily and amidst rejoicing, was closed the incident of 
the Correo and the San Felipe. 1 


At a mass meeting held at Columbia, August 15, 1835, a com- 
mittee of fifteen persons was appointed to prepare an address to 
the municipalities of Texas, asking them for co-operation in a call 
for a consultation of all Texas. The address requested that each 
municipality should elect five delegates to meet at Washington, on 
the loth of October. On this date only thirty- two members were 
present; these not being sufficient for a quorum, the meeting was 
adjourned to November 1. By the 3rd of November fifty-five 
members had assembled at San Felipe instead of Washing-ton. 
This consultation was authorized to organize a government, and 
to provide ways and means for carrying on the war. A provisional 
government was formed, in which Henry Smith was appointed 
governor and James W. Eobinson lieutenant governor. 2 

One of the very first matters receiving the attention of the 
Consultation was the proper protection of the sea coast. As it was 
impossible to create a navy in a day, it was determined to issue 
letters of marque and reprisal; and it was hoped that by having 
numerous privateers cruising upon the Texas coast, not only would 
Texas be protected, but the Mexicans would be seriously harassed. 
It will be sufficient for the purposes of this narrative merely to 
outline the plans proposed and those finally adopted. On the 31st 

^bout two years afterward, August 17. 1837, ("apt. J. D. Boy Ian, com- 
manding the Texan man of war Urn ins, captured the Correo again. She 
was then passing by (he name of Rafaelita. (See Texas Navy Papers, 
stale Library.) 

■Bancroft, H, 162, 169, 171; Journals of the Consul la I ion. 50. 

10 Organization of the Navy. 

of October, 1835, the General Council, which was looking after 
the interests of Texas until the opening of the Consultation, issued 
letters of marque to several "gentlemen of the lower country." 1 I 
am of the opinion that these commissions were not used, or were 
surrendered later, and those authorized by the Consultation ac- 
cepted in exchange. The first application for "letters" to the 
Consultation was made on November 8th, 1835, by A. C. Allen, 2 
Mr. Allen proposed to "arm, man and fit out a vessel mounting 
nine guns, and fifty stand of small arms, with fifty volunteers on 
board and four months provisions, to cruise off our coast as a 
privateer." The committee to whom this proposal was referred 
reported : "That they view the protection and defence of our sea- 
board of the greatest importance in the present crisis;" and rec- 
ommended that Allen's proposal be accepted; that all authority 
vested in the Consultation be granted to him to cruise with such 
vessel as he might think proper to arm and man as a privateer; 
that a suitable commission be issued to him for that purpose by 
the executive; and that "the thanks of the convention be tendered 
to Mr. Allen, for his patriotism and devotion in our struggle for 
constitutional liberty." Further on it will appear that Mr. Allen 
made good use of the commission. Some one about this time must 
have raised the question as to the right of the Consultation to 
issue letters of marque; for on November 13th we find the follow- 
ing report on the subject from a select committee, of which D. C. 
Barrett was chairman : 3 "This convention, in adopting the declar- 
ation of the seventh of November, have organized this power, and 
by the provisions of the resolution constituting a provisional gov- 
ernment, have vested this authority in the governor and general 
council; consequently these 4 requires no further action upon the 
subject by this house during its present session." Article four of 
the plan of the Provisional Government as finally adopted, author- 
ized the governor "by himself, by and with the consent of the 

Report of General Council to Consultation in Journals of the Consulta- 
tion, 11. For form of commission see The Quarterly, VII, 278. 
Journals of the Consultation, 25-26. 
UUd., 40. 

4 There. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. \\ 

council/' to employ the army and navy in "all proper ways" for 
the defense of the country. 1 

The Council which was to assist the governor in the manage- 
ment of the navy was elected by the Consultation from its own 
membership, one from each municipality. 2 The Consultation ad- 
journed on November 14, and the Governor and Council were now 
in power. On November 15, D. C. Barrett and A. Houston re- 
ported to the Council among other things that, "The Mexican 
Schooner Montezuma, with another vessel, is cruising in the Gulf. 
The Vera Cruzana is off Matagorda — more commissions for ves- 
sels in the Texas service are requested." 3 This information was 
derived from a letter from McKinney and Williams to the Con- 
sultation, dated the 9th. It has been affirmed that the letter was 
written to hurry the Council into issuing letters of marque, and 
that no Mexican vessels were then endangering the Texan coast. 
If this was the object, it served the purpose. The Vera Cruzana 
was the vessel that was said to have exchanged shots with the San 
Felipe as she lay on the beach in Matagorda Bay, as was men- 
tioned in the last chapter. 

On the next day, November 16, Governor Smith sent a message 
to the Council, one paragraph of which is as follows : 

I recommend the granting of Letters of Marque and Eeprisal; 
by doing which we cannot only prevent invasion by sea, but we 
can blockade all the ports of Mexico, and destroy her commerce, 
and annoy and harrass the enemy more in a few months, than by 
many years' war, carried on within our own limits. My own mind 
is satisfied that the whole of our maritime operations can be car- 
ried on by foreign capital and foreign enterprise. Already ap- 
plications for commissions have been made; they are willing to 
take the hazard, as such afford them every encouragement. 4 

The governor here seems optimistic, but much that he antici- 
pated from privateers came to pass. Not all who applied for com- 
missions actually fitted out privateers; perhaps they did not like 

l Journal8 of the Consultation, 44. 
'Proceedings of the General Council, 8. 
"Ibid., S. 
'Ibid.. 13. 

12 Organization of the Navy. 

the restrictions which the commissions imposed. At this time the 
governor did not seem to think it necessary to form a national 
fleet; later, as privateers did not materialize according to his 
hopes, he viewed favorably the creation of a navy to be owned and 
controlled by Texas. 

This message of the governor was referred to the committee on 
naval affairs, composed of Messrs. Perry, Harris, and West. Ob 
November 18 the committee reported themselves in favor of grant- 
ing letters of marque under the following restrictions: (1) Ap- 
plicants should be men of character and skill as naval taetictians, 
and no license should be granted to vessels under eighty tons bur- 
den, or carrying less than four twelve pound carronades, "or their 
equivalent in metal." (2) Cruising should be restricted to the 
Gulf of Mexico, and prizes made only of vessels sailing under the 
flag and commission of the central government of Mexico. (3) 
All prizes should be brought into ports of Texas and adjudicated 
by competent tribunals; and twenty-five per cent of the prize 
money should be paid into the public treasury, and the balance to 
the captors. (4) All persons cruising under license must give 
good security for the correct performance of the conditions men- 
tioned in their commissions. (5) Commissions were not to be 
issued for more than six nor for less than three months, and were 
in any case to cease at the conclusion of war between Texas and 
Mexico. The report concludes as follows : 

Your committee would further most earnestly represent that the 
establishment of a small Naval force for the security of our ex- 
tended coast and the protection of our own commerce would seem 
to them highly necessary and indispensable, and under that con- 
viction would recommend the purchase, arming, and equipping 
two schooners of twelve, and two schooners of six guns each, to 
cruise in, and about the bays and harbors of our coast. This arm 
of the service should be confided and entrusted only to men whose 
nautical skill and experience are well known and established, and 
whose activity and efficiency would with greater certainty secure 
the objects of its creation and organization. 1 

Here we have the first official recommendation for a navy to be 
entirely controlled by the government, and to consist of government 

Proceedings of the General Council, 26-21. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 13 

On the next day, November 19th, the Council took up the re- 
port of this committee. The first section was adopted; the sec- 
ond was amended to allow privateers to cruise on the high seas as 
well as in the Gull'; the third was amended to give the govern- 
ment only five, instead of twenty-five, per cent of the money de- 
rived from prizes; the fourth was stricken out; the fifth was 
agreed to without change; and then the entire report as amended 
was adopted. 1 

On the 19th, the committee on Naval affairs introduced an 
ordinance "for granting letters of Marque and Reprisal, and for 
the establishment of a Navy/ 7 which with a slight amendment was 
passed to its second reading. 2 The next day Governor Smith, who 
was not yet informed of this action, sent' in a message in which 
he said, "Commissions granting letters of Marque and Eeprisal, 
have been earnestly solicited, both by our own citizens and for- 
eigners, and as yet have not been acted on." This subject, with 
others mentioned in the message, the governor deemed "of the 
most urgent and vital importance," and he thought that it should 
receive prompt attention. 3 Three days later, November 22, the 
Council met on special call of the president, and the ordinance for 
granting letters of marque and reprisal and for establishing a 
navy was taken up and read a second time. It was amended by 
inserting between the words "Texas" and "that" the following, 
"that the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the 
Council, shall have power to grant letters of Marque and Eeprisal," 
which was agreed to. On motion the rule in this case was sus- 
pended and the ordinance was read the third time and passed 
finally. 4 It was sent to the governor for his approval, and on the 
24th he returned it with the following remarks : 

To this bill I am bound to object as it now stands. The priv- 
ileges granted to privateers seems to me rather unbounded — that 
this Government takes all the responsibilities without any interest 
in the captures which may be made. 

If prizes are brought into our ports, the Government will be at 
the expense of adjudication and sale, without remuneration, pro- 

1 Proceedings of the General Council, 31. 
HUd., 32. 

I hid., 37-38. 
'J bid., 44-45. 

14 Organization of the Navy. 

vided they should be found lawful prizes; if not lawful prizes 
they will be bound to make remuneration for the act of their com- 
missioned agents, who have brought into our ports prizes which 
cannot be condemned and sold as such. Besides, I consider, agree- 
ably to the provisions of the ordinance, that privateers would have 
an unbridled license to roam at large, without being particularly 
under the control of the Government, and kept within limits cal- 
culated to protect our own commerce, and might, in the end, be 
productive of more injury than good. ... If they are not 
commissioned in a manner calculated to promote the public good 
by annoying our enemies and protecting our own commerce, they 
might prove injurious to the Government rather than an advan- 
tage. ... 

As it respects that part of the bill making provisions for the 
creation of a Navy. If it should be made out in a separate bill 
for that purpose, it would appear much better, and would entire- 
ly meet my views, as I deem it entirely necessary for the protec- 
tion of our commerce. ... I would therefore suggest the 
piopriety of separating the substantive matter of the bill, and 
introduce one solely for the purposes of creating a Navy on proper 
principles, and leaving out the provision for granting letters of 
marque and reprisal, unless your honorable body may think 
proper to introduce it in a different shape. I am well aware that 
no good could result from granting commissions as contemplated 
by that portion of the bill and as such object to it. 1 

On the same day the ordinance was reconsidered. When the 
question was put, "shall this ordinance now pass? the veto of the 
Governor to the contrary notwithstanding," the vote stood three 
for passing and eight for rejection, so the ordinance was lost. It 
was recommitted, on motion, to the standing committee on naval 
affairs, and Mr. Westover was added to the committee. 2 

The next day, November 25, the committee presented an or- 
dinance for granting letters of marque, which was read the first 
time; and, on motion, the rules were suspended, and it was read a 
second time. Mr. Hanks moved that the words "twenty per cent" be 
stricken out, and the words "ten per cent" be inserted, which was 
agreed to. The rule was further suspended, and the ordinance 
read a third time and passed. At the same time an ordinance for 
?stablishing a navy was introduced and by suspension of the rules 

^Proceedings of the General Council, 51-52. 
2 IMd., 53. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 15 

hastened through its third reading and passed. 1 On the 20th, 
these two ordinances were reported enrolled. 2 . The governor af- 
fixed his signature to the ordinance granting letters of marque 
and reprisal on the 27th of November, 1835. 3 

The ordinance granting letters of marque agreed in substance 
with the report of the committee on naval affairs as amended by 
the Council, 4 except that the government's share of prize money 
was increased in accordance with the governor's suggestion. 
Hanks's amendment to change that share from twenty per cent to 
ten per cent must have been overlooked when the ordinance was 
enrolled; for I have one of the original commissions;"' and also 
one of the original copies of the supplementary letter issued a 
few days later, and the commission places the government's share 
of prize money at "twenty per cent." A few days afterwards, the 
ordinance was modified by further action of the governor and 
Council. Major Samuel Whiting called on the governor and 
stated that he was on his way to New Orleans, and wished there 
to fit out some privateers; and, as he did not know whom he 
would get to command them, or just what vessels he would secure, 
he wanted some blank commissions. So, on the 29th of Novem- 
ber, Governor Smith in a message to the Council recommended 
the passage of an ordinance authorizing the executive to vest 
Whiting with authority to fill out the blanks, under special in- 
structions from the executive in conformity therewith. A com- 
mittee was appointed to draft such an ordinance and reported "an 
ordinance and decree supplemental to an ordinance and decree for 
granting letters of marque and reprisal, passed 25th November, 
1835," which was laid on the table. On taking the matter up 
later the Council so amended the ordinance as to grant three blank 

Proceedings of the General Council, 55. 

Hbid., 56. 

'Ordinances and Decrees of the Consultation, etc., 23-24; a copy with 
autographs in Dienst, Col. Doc, IT, 1. 
'See pp. 12-13, above. 

This commission is printed on heavy paper by Baker and Borden, the 
date of the imprint being San Felipe, November 27, 1835. It bears the 
autographs of James W. Robinson, lieutenant-governor and ex-officio presi- 
dent of the Council; E. M. Pease, secretary of the Council; Henry Smith, 
governor; and ( '. B. Stewart, executive secretary. 

16 Organization of the Navy. 

commissions to Thomas F. McKinney and Silas Dinsmore to be 
filled for the same purpose; and, on motion of Mr. Hanks, it was 
further amended so as to provide that ten per cent of the prize 
money should be paid to the provisional government, anything to 
the contrary in the previous ordinance notwithstanding. The ordi- 
nance was then passed finally. 1 Whiting was allowed six blank 
commissions; McKinney and Dinsmore three. 

Section 2 of this supplemental ordinance is interesting as mak- 
ing the first reference to a flag for the service : 

Be it further ordained and decreed, etc., That all vessels sailing 
under Licenses, as Letters of Marque and Eeprisal, which have 
been, or may hereafter be granted, by the Governor and Council, 
or by the Governor, as provided in this supplementary Ordinance, 
or under any register or license of this Government, shall carry 
the flag of the Kepublic of the United States of Mexico, and 
shall have the figures 1, 8, 2, 4, cyphered in large Arabics on the 
white ground thereof. 2 

Under the ordinances whose history has been given, privateering 
commissions were granted as follows: To S. Dinsmore, Jr., and 
to Eobert Potter, who later became secretary of the navy, on De- 
cember 1 ; to Ira E. Lewis and other owners of the schooner Wil- 
liam Bobbins,, on December 5; and to Benjamin F. Smith, on De- 
cember 6. The minutes of the Council for December 6 show that 
there was also issued, on that day, a blank commission to the com- 
mittee of safety for Matagorda, to be filled in for the captain of 
the William Robbins; 3 but this seems to have been a repetition 
either of the action or of the record concerning the same subject 
on the previous day. This was the last commission of the kind 
granted by the Council and Governor Smith. A month later, Jan- 
uary 7, 1836, they seem to be sorry they ever granted privateering 
commissions at all, as the following request would indicate : "On 
motion of Mr. Barrett it was ordered that the committee on Naval 
affairs, be requested to examine into the expediency of retracting 
all letters of marque and reprisal heretofore granted by this 

^Proceedings of the General Council, 73, 74, 75, 76. I have one or the 
original commissions given to McKinney and Dinsmore. 

Ordinances and Decrees of the Consultation, etc., 38; original commis- 
sion, Dienst, Col. Doc, II, 1. 

3 Proceedings of the General Council, passim. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 17 

Council/' and Mr. Barrett was added to the committee for this 
special case. 1 On January 9 the committee reported progress and 
asked leave to sit again, which was granted; 2 but nothing further 
is heard from it. Two days later, January 11, Governor 
Smith made his severe charges against the Council, and in 
the excitement caused by his impeachment the subject seems to 
have been neglected till the Convention met. 

The first constitution of the Republic conferred on Congress the 
power to grant letters of marque and reprisal. 3 A proclamation 
by President Houston, dated September 15, 1837, declares that all 
letters of marque and reprisal granted under authority of the 
Texan government had been recalled, but that the practice of 
granting them is renewed from the time when the proclamation is 
made public. This was because John A. Wharton, who had 
landed at Matamoras under a white flag in order to effect the ex- 
change of his brother, William H. Wharton, then a prisoner in 
Mexico, had been arrested and detained. 4 On November 2, 1837, 
a joint resolution was passed by Congress endorsing the action of 
the president, and requesting him to grant commissions imme- 
diately to all applicants who would comply with certain stated 
conditions. No one availed himself of this opportunity; although 
the government, by the resolution, reduced its share of the value 
of prizes to two and one-half per cent. Congress ordered the let- 
ters of marque to be advertised in the Telegraph, which was done. 5 

I have purposely followed the granting of letters of marque 
through 1837, in order finally to dispose of the subject. As no 
action followed the various pronunciamentos, they savor a little of 
the Mexican style of conducting war. This remark does not apply 
of course to the first half dozen commissions issued, and which 
were actually used. 

I have written at length on the subject of letters of marque, 
because such privateers as were fitted out proved of assistance to 
Texas in the beginning of her struggle, in giving the government 

Proceedings of the General Council, 275. 

'Ibid., 286. 

"See Art. U, See. 4. 

^Telegraph and Teams Register, September 16, 1837. 

'Hid., September 23, 1837. 

18 Organization of the Navy. 

and the people a feeling of security from invasion by sea by means 
of transports convoyed by one of the two or three Mexican vessels 
then plying in the Gulf. Moreover, the captures made were very 
helpful at this critical time, and the privateers deserve no little 
credit for the help they afforded the Republic of Texas in her 
infancy. Just how great that help was we shall see at the proper 
time. Another reason for treating this subject at such length, is 
that it has been almost totally ignored by historians; and in my 
judgment, having so much to do with the beginnings of the Texas 
of to-day, it is deserving of a prominent place in the history of 
the State. But one writer that deals with Texas has any com- 
ment to make on the granting of letters of marque and reprisal, 
by the • struggling colonies. This comment is so inconsistent and 
odd that I give it. It is characteristic of the man who penned it. 
His book is valuable for the facts it contains; but when he goes 
beyond facts his prejudices are so strong against the Texans that 
his judgment is warped. He says : 

The second way in which the Provisional Government tried its 
hand at robbing was in granting letters of marque and reprisal. 
It passed two acts with this object, by the first of which (Nov. 27), 
it was provided that twenty per cent of the proceeds of the prizes 
should be paid into the treasury; by the second (Nov. 30), the 
amount was reduced to ten per cent. In thus authorizing individ- 
uals to fit out privateers, it could plead the precedents of the best- 
established and most righteous governments. 1 

He might have added that no nation ever had a more righteous 
cause, or was more in need of the assistance to be had only by the 
issuance of letters of marque. 

As will be recalled, simultaneously with the issuance of an or- 
dinance for granting letters of marque and reprisal, there was also 
passed on November 25, 1835, an ordinance establishing a navy. 
It is as follows : 

^ouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 27. Since the above was written an- 
other writer has mentioned letters of marque and reprisal in connection 
with the Texas Revolution. Eugene C. Barker, referring to them in Po- 
litical Science Quarterly, XIX, 623, says: "At any rate, the matter is of 
little importance, for if any privateers were actually put in commission, 
nothing was ever heard of them." That this statement is erroneous will 
be demonstrated in the following chapter. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 19 

Sec. 1. Be it ordained and decreed, and it is hereby ordained 
and decreed, by the General Council of the Provisional Govern- 
ment of Texas, That there shall be, and there is hereby estab- 
lished a Navy, to consist of two schooners of twelve guns each, 
and two schooners of six guns each, with the requisite number of 
officers, seamen and marines for each schooner; and that the said 
schooners shall, as soon as practicable, be purchased, armed and 
equipped for warlike operations, offensive and defensive; and that 
they be put in commission and fitted out, and ordered into actual 
service; and the commander and officers of said Navy shall be 
under the orders and directions of the Governor and Council. 

Sec. 2. And be it further ordained and decreed, etc., That the 
Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, shall 
nominate and appoint to the command of said vessels, officers of 
good character, courage and ability as naval tacticians. And the 
said vessels, when so fitted out, manned and equipped for naval 
operations, shall rendezvous in Galveston Bay, and the command- 
ers thereof report to the Governor for further orders. 1 

I shall now relate the history of the various privateers sailing 
under letters of marque, or authorized by the needs of the hour 
to act as vessels of war in the defense of Texas. In doing this 
strict chronological order will be sacrificed to unity, and the his- 
tory of each vessel will be followed separately to the end. This 
should avoid confusion, and make a more interesting and readable 
narrative. This course will be adhered to throughout the work 
wherever it seems to me best so to do. After the study of the 
privateers, the purchasing of the national vessels of war, their 
armament and officers and their various cruises will be considered, 
each receiving such space as its services entitle it to, and as ma- 
terial for its history has been found. The work of collection has 
been difficult, but I have found much that throws a new and clearer 
light on the services rendered by the navy, and its officers and men ; 
and if I can add to their fame and that of their vessels by an im- 
partial relation of the facts, the work I have undertaken will have 
served its purpose. 

'Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 931. 

20 The Texas Privateers. 


The William Robbins seems to me, after careful search, to have 
been the second vessel fitted out by Texas, the San Felipe being 
the first. As noted in chapter I, the William Robbins was ex- 
pected to accompany the San Felipe to New Orleans about the 
10th of November, 1835. On the 13th of November we find her 
rendering her first service to Texas by transporting a heavy can- 
non, taken from the wreck of the San Felipe, from Bird Island 
to the Brazos. 1 Early in November, the Mexican vessels Monte- 
zuma and Bravo were reported to be blockading the Texas coast, 
and the committee of safety of the jurisdiction of Matagorda con- 
sidered it important that a vessel should immediately be armed 
and equipped to attack and drive them off. The schooner William 
Robbins was at that time in the Bay of Matagorda, and by a reso- 
lution of the committee Ira E. Lewis and S. Ehoads Fisher were 
appointed to negotiate the purchase of this vessel for the Texas 
service. They concluded a bargain for her at thirty-five hundred 
dollars, but the money was paid by Thomas F. McKinney individ- 
ually, in order that the government might have the option of buy- 
ing and using her as a naval vessel. 2 She was placed under the 
command of William A. Hurd. On Thursday, November 19, 1835, 
it was reported in Matagorda that a schooner, which was afterwards 
found to be the Hannah Elizabeth from New Orleans, had been 
driven ashore at Paso Cavallo, pursued by a Mexican armed vessel. 
Early the next morning the William Robbins, in command of 
Captain Hurd, and with some citizens of Matagorda aboard, went 
to the assistance of the stranded schooner. On the evening of the 
21st they anchored at the pilot house at the pass, and thus ascer- 
tained that the Mexican vessel had been driven by a norther to 
sea, and that the Hannah Elizabeth was in possession of a Mex- 
ican prize crew. Twenty volunteers from the William Robbins, 
together with Captain Hurd and three of his crew, were landed, 
all under the command of Captain S. Rhoads Fisher. When they 
presented themselves, the commander of the prize, Lieutenant 
Mateo, of the Bravo, delivered his sword, and surrendered himself 

1 Hall to Austin, November 23, 1835, Austin Papers. 
"^Proceedings of the General Council, 251. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 21 

and his eleven men as prisoners of war. Don Mateo stated 1 that 
the Hannah Elizabeth had on board fifteen Americans, and five 
Mexicans, besides a woman; that it had carried three cannon upon 
deck mounted, two sixes and a four; that its cargo included 
eighteen kegs of powder, and muskets and rifles, lie said that, 
when he boarded her in the breakers at 7 p. in. with one boat and 
eleven men, not a gun was fired, nor the least resistance made; 
indeed, the cannon and small arms had been thrown overboard/ 
A number of the Americans and two Mexicans who claimed an 
interest in the cargo, Messrs. Carbajal and Fernando de Leon, 
were put on board the Bravo; from which Captain Fisher argues 
that they were great cowards. For Messrs. Kerr and the two Mex- 
icans who were owners of the cargo, it could be said that their 
object in throwing over the cannon and muskets was to evade con- 
fiscation of the entire cargo for carrying contraband of war. Cap- 
tain Hurd proposed that the cargo landed from the vessels be 
taken to Matagorda and sold. Peter Kerr, a passenger on board, 
who claimed a large amount of the goods, objected and wished to 
have them sold on the spot that he might purchase. Not knowing 
how soon the Bravo might return, this was agreed to, and Captain 
Hurd ordered the sale. As the men were not then prepared with 
money, their notes were taken, payable when they reached town. 
Kerr did not want his property sold, and proposed to pay as salv- 
age fifty per cent on invoice cost. This was agreed to, and his 
part set aside, notwithstanding that he had no evidence of owner- 
ship. His part amounted to $2541. The balance of the goods was 
sold to various members of the expedition, and brought at auction 
$2843.83. Captain Fisher was publicly appointed agent by Cap- 
tain Hurd, bills were made out, and notes drawn. On the 6th of 

*A large printed hand-bill addressed "To the People of Texas," Mata- 
gorda, December 17. 1835. By S. Rhoads Fisher. Dienst, Col. Doc, II, 
23. This version of this story of the Hannah Elizabeth I have accepted 
• as the most reliable. While it is a personal vindication of 8. Rhoads 
Fisher, and assails Governor Smith and particularly J. W. Fannin, Jr., it 
is attested on oath by leading citizens of Texas, and eyewitnesses of the 
entire transaction. 

2 V. M. Rose, History of Victoria County, 14, 111. 154, contains much 
information about the Hannah Elizabeth — "Her cargo of 500 mnskets. 
two piooes of artillery, with a full equipment of ammunition valued at 

22 The Texas Privateers. 

December Captain Fisher wrote an account, in accordance with the 
facts as narrated above, to R. R. Royall, a member of the Council. 
In this letter Captain Fisher asked the Council to adjudicate the 
matter; he said that the re-capture of the Hannah Elizabeth made 
it either a legal prize or the property of the salvors, and that he 
was the agent to represent either captors or salvors. It seems, 
however, that before Captain Fisher's letter reached the Council 
the governor had received another, severely condemning the whole 
proceeding. It was written by Col. J. W. Fannin, Jr. 

To follow the history further, it will be necessary to return to 
the proceedings of the General Council. As already noted, a letter 
of marque was granted to the owners of the William Bobbins on 
December 5, 1835. 1 On December 11, J. W. Fannin, Jr., ad- 
dressed a letter from Matagorda to his excellency, Governor Henry 
Smith, and the General Council, 2 which agrees with Rhoads 
Fisher's statement, and gives further details. He says that one 
of the Bravo' s parties in passing from the schooner in its small 
boat was capsized in the breakers, and with difficulty got on board 
again; while their boat drifted ashore and was discovered by a 
man named Somers and two companions. "They immediately 
got possession of the boat and with their firearms kept it, and 
prevented the Mexicans from retaking it, and by this means pre- 
vented an escape to the Bravo of the whole party, who had been 
ordered to rob, and afterwards burn and desert the schooner. In 
the meantime, a party from this town was got up, and proceeded 
below with the schooner William, Bobbins, recently purchased and 
armed for the public use. S. Rhoads Fisher commanded the ma- 
rines, and Captain Hurd, recently of the schooner San Felipe, the 
crew of the William Robbins. . . . When said party landed 
and marched across, they found Somers and party walking their 
regular rounds, having kept up a guard for about two days, the 
lieutenant and crew having previously agreed to surrender, when 
an officer should appear to receive his sword, and thus save Mex- 
ican honor." Fannin then makes insinuating charges against 

Hh December 6; see Proceedings of the General Council, 109, 114. Cf. 
p. 16 above. 

2 This letter I find only in Fisher's hand-bill, "To the People of Texas." 
See p. 21 above, note 1. The minutes of the Council and the Governor's 
message merely refer to it. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 23 

Captains Fisher and Hurd, and claims that the sale was a very 
dishonest one. After reading this letter, Governor Smith, with- 
out hearing anything from the other side, sent a scathing message 
to the Council, 1 asking it to look into and sift the matter. He 
referred to those who took part in the transaction as "bone pick- 
ers, who are eagle-eyed, ever hovering around to pounce upon their 
unfortunate prey," and said that he was "well aware of the in- 
trigue, management and downright roguery, which has been uni- 
versally practiced by the unprincipled speculators." 

The letter was referred to a committee, which on December 17 
made a report, accompanied by an ordinance to sequester and se- 
cure the cargo of the schooner Hannah Elizabeth, and advising 
that commissioners be appointed with power to seize and sequester 
J he schooner, arrest persons, and suspend the commission of the 
commander of the William Bobbins, if the facts in the case jus- 
tified such a course, and report to the Council. 2 The report was 
adopted, and three commissioners were appointed. On December 
22, E. E. Eoyall presented letters on the subject from J. G. Eob- 
ertson and S. Ehoads Fisher to the Council, 3 which were placed 
on file. On January 3, 1836, Governor Smith transmitted to the 
Council the report of Thomas Barnett, one of the commissioners, 
which was referred to the Committee on State and Judiciary. 4 
The next day the committee reported a request that two new 
commissioners be appointed to act with Barnett in place of the 
two originally appointed, but their report was tabled. 5 On Janu- 
ary 7 it was brought up again and the addition of another com- 
missioner to the three already appointed was recommended. 6 The 
explanation of this is that some of the commissioners who had 
been appointed either were not in Texas or would not act. 7 

This is the last we hear of the Hannah Elizabeth in the General 
Council or from the governor. The quarrel between the Council 

^Proceedings of the General Council, 167-108. 

Hbid., 168, 172-173. 

"Ibid., 193. 

'Ibid., 249. 

"Ibid., 254. 

'Ibid., 271, 272. 

TPapers of the "Provisional Congress," Department of State, File 3, 

24 The Texas Privateers. 

and governor occurred soon after, and the report of the Hannah 
Elizabeth committee was left on the table. S. Ehoads Fisher, 
however, did not let the matter drop. He was very angry and 
wrote Colonel J. W. Fannin, who made the charges against him, 
a fiercely vituperative letter, charging him with being "incapable 
of adhering to the first principles of either . . . discretion or 
truth," and with bringing from Africa slaves whose "native lingo 
yet betrays their recent importation." The letter contained an 
implied invitation to Fannin to reply with a challenge. He was, 
however, too busy with his share in the campaign that was just 
then opening to turn aside for a private quarrel, and a few weeks 
later came his death at Goliad. 1 

Both Fisher and Fannin were in error; the latter in making 
his charges without sufficient examination or foundation, the 
former in taking Fannin to task too severely for the charges. At 
the worst, they implied nothing but a sharp business speculation, 
possibly not according to law. While they were disproved by 
Fisher, he was not justified in going to the length he did in his 

I have purposely dwelt at length on the Hannah Elizabeth, the 
William Bobbins, and Captains Hnrd and Fisher, because Yoakum, 
Thrall, the Proceedings of the General Council, 2 and other authori- 
ties or sources, mention the charges and even comment in a deroga- 
tory way, without mentioning the defense. As a further and final 
proof that the transaction was not a swindling affair, Captain Hurd 
was soon after this made an officer by the General Convention of 
Texas, and placed in command of the government vessel Brutus. 3 
S. Ehoads Fisher was made chairman of the naval committee at the 
same time by the General Convention, and later on was secretary 
of the navy. No vindication could better testify to their character 
and proper conduct in the case in question than this elevation at 
the hands of their fellow-citizens. 

Nearly twenty years later Peter Kerr was reimbursed by the 

Wisher to Fannin, January 12, 1836, in Fisher's Broadside "To the 
People of Texas." Dienst, Col. Doc., II, 23. 

2 Yoakum, II, 38; Thrall, 219; Proceedings of the General Council, 

"Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 891. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 25 

"mixed commission" of the United States, for his loss in the Han- 
nah Elizabeth. As the prisoners taken by the Bravo and William 
ilobbins were about equal in number, on December 27, 1835, the 
Council requested the governor to correspond with the command- 
ing officer at Matanioras, with a view of exchanging. 1 Nothing 
further is to be found regarding an exchange, but that the United 
States government claimed the credit of releasing all the prisoners 
except the captain of the Hannah Elizabeth, through the agency 
of their consul stationed at Matamoras. 2 The Bravo we do not 
hear of again until about April, 1836, when she was one of three 
Mexican vessels which engaged the Texan man of war Independ- 
ence in a drawn battle. The New Orleans newspapers of July, 
1836, mention that she was lost while on her way from Matamoras 
to Vera Cruz, and all on board perished with the exception of 
Captain Thompson and two marines. 

As to the William Robbins, negotiations were at this time being 
carried on by the Council for her purchase, with the object of 
making a national war vessel of her. These negotiations were sat- 
isfactorily concluded, and she became the Texan war vessel Lib- 
erty. It seems worth while briefly to recount them here. The 
commissioners to the United States appear to have bought, or to 
have believed they had bought, the William Robbins (the name 
of which they changed to the Liberty) while on their way to New 
Orleans. 3 But there must have been some misunderstanding about 
the matter; for, on January 3, 1836, a communication was laid 
before the Council from Thomas F. McKinney, offering the Wil- 
liam Robbins for sale to the government, 4 and the Committee on 
Naval Affairs recommended that an agent be appointed to examine 
the vessel with a view to purchasing. The report of the committee 
was adopted by the Council, 5 and on January 5th a decree was 
passed appointing Edmund Andrews and Wm. P. Harris agents to 
examine the William Robbins and the Invincible, and providing 

Proceedings of the General Council, 215. 

2 See National Intelligencer, February 14, 1S37. 

B See Proceedings of the General Council, 277: Austin, Archer, and Whar- 
ton to Smith, January 10, 1830, in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the 
Republic of Texas, State Library. 

'('[. p. 20 above. 

^'Proceedings of the (lateral Council, 251 -252. 

26 The Texas Privateers. 

for their purchase if the report was favorable. 1 Governor Smith 
approved of the ordinance with the exception of the provision for 
sending agents to purchase the William Robbins. As she had al- 
ready been purchased by the commissioners to the United States, 
acting under the governor's instructions, in pursuance of a decree of 
the Council, 2 he did not want to create confusion by refusing their 
purchase of the vessel for the government. 3 Notwithstanding the 
governor's protest, the ordinance passed without amendment by 
a constitutional majority on the 8th of January; but Governor 
Smith never signed or returned it, as is noted in the ordinance 
itself. 4 This is the last we hear of the purchase of the William 
Robbins in the Council; for on the 11th of January the Governor 
made his famous charge against the Council, and everything was 
sidetracked for his impeachment and trial. However, as the Wil- 
liam Robbins became the Liberty, it is fair to presume that the 
purchase by the commissioners was accepted as legal and binding; 
and when we later take up the study of the Liberty as a national 
war vessel, we shall be but completing the history of the William 
Robbins, privateer. 

The third Texan privateer was the Terrible, commanded at dif- 
ferent times by Captain John M. Allen, later mayor of the City 
of Galveston, and by Lieutenant Eandolph. The Terrible sailed 
under a letter of marque procured on the 8th of November, 1835, 
by A. C. Allen, as already related. 5 Little of her history is known, 
save that she patrolled the Gulf, and by her watchfulness, if not 
numerous prizes, made herself helpful to Texas. From the New 
Orleans papers 6 I find that while cruising she was taken in charge 
by the United States war vessel Boston, and carried to Pensacola; 
but the offense with which she was charged having been committed 
on waters beyond the jurisdiction of the court, she was turned over 
to John H. Holland, Esq., marshal of this district of Louisiana. 
These charges were: 1st, that the Terrible was fitted out at New 

^Proceedings of the General Council, 263; Gammel, Laics of Texas, I, 

2 See Ordinances and Decrees of the Consultation, etc., 52-54. 

^Proceedings of the General Council, 277-278. 

4 Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 1033. 

s See p. 10 above. 

6 Clipping in Dienst, Col. Doc, I, 25. The clipping is probably from the 
Neio Orleans Bee of date not earlier than October 1, nor later than Octo- 
ber 5. 

The Navij of the Republic of Texas. 27 

Orleans to wage war against a government with whom the United 
States was at peace; 2d, that the commander, Lieutenant Ran- 
dolph, had manifested the intention of committing an act of piracy 
upon a Sardinian vessel, the Pelicana Mexicana; 3d, that he had 
sailed from this port without the authorization of the collector. 
She was discharged and soon afterward proceeded to sea. No par- 
ticulars are given. From the Telegraph and Texas Register 1 and 
the brief comment of Lieutenant Tennison, 2 it is noted that under 
the command of Captain John M. Allen, the Terrible cruised up 
and down the coast of Mexico. During the cruise the Terrible 
captured between Sisal and Campeachy, the Mexican sloop Ma- 
tilda, loaded with dry goods and provisions, and sent it into Gal- . 
veston to be adjudicated. The last mention of her that I can find 
is by Tennison, who reports her off the Northeast pass of the 
Mississippi on the 12th of August, 1836 3 It is probable that when 
her commission expired she went into the regular coasting trade. 
The fourth vessel to sail as a privateer in the Texas service was 
the Thomas Toby, previously the. De Kalb, in the trade service be- 
tween New Orleans and Texas. Her commander was Captain 
Hoyt. As in the case of the Terrible, little can be found concern- 
ing this vessel. Tennison calls attention to a cruise she made in 
October, 1836, in the following words : 

J For August 16, 1836. 

2 Tennison's Journal, entry for August 11, 1836; in Dienst, Col. Doc, VI, 
326. The Tennison Papers, Avhich are the most valuable materials for the 
history of the first Texas navy that I know of, came into my possession 
by purchase. My attention was first called to them years ago by the late 
Judge C. W. Raines of the State Library at Austin. By copies of official 
documents sent me from the Naval Library of Washington, D. C, through 
the kindness of Secretary Long and Librarian Rawson, I was enabled posi- 
tively to prove the papers to be Tennison's. Wm. A. Tennison entered the 
Texas naval service in the beginning of the navy, 1836, and remained with 
it to the last, having the honor to deliver the remnant of the Texas navy 
to the United States authorities after annexation. His papers and journal 
are all in manuscript, and have never been used. The fact that he makes 
many references to other vessels and naval events than those with which he 
had to do directly, leads me to believe that he selected some of these outside 
materials from articles in the current papers of that period. Where Ten- 
nison later describes his own experience on board Texan vessels, his journal 
is no doubt in part a copy of the log books of the vessels; for officers 
were in the babif of keeping journals and copying log books. This, of 
course, can not be proved, since the log books of the first navy are all lost, 
and only parts Of one Or two of the second navy exist ; but it serins certain. 

•Ibid., entry for September 3, 1836. 

28 The Texas Privateers. 

The Texan privateer Thomas Toby (late De Kalb) Hoyt com- 
mander has been cruising off the ports of Vera Cruz, Sisal, Cam- 
peachy, Matamoras, and Tampico, since the first week in October, 
and had captured, about the 12th inst a Mexican schooner, and 
sent her into Texas. She soon after run in towards the fort at the 
mouth of the river, and playing her "long torn" upon it for some 
time, without, however, doing much damage, except frightening the 
good people of the town nearly out of their wits, who supposing 
her to be the vanguard of the Texian navy turned out en masse, 
repaired to the fort and along the river banks determined to repel 
any hostile movement of the imaginary Texian fleet. The com- 
mander of the privateer soon after transmitted a chaleng to the 
commandant of Tampico requesting a meeting with any armed 
Mexican vessel which might be in port; but receiving no answer 
within a reasonable time, she stood off and spoke the Louisiana de- 
termined to capture all Mexican property she fell in with. 1 

The same writer in another entry says: 

The Thomas Toby has just sent into Galveston harbor a very 
valuable prize, being a large fine brig, strongly built, and capable 
of being fitted out as a man of war, bearing guns heavier than any 
now in the Mexican Navy. She was captured on the coast of 
Campeachy and has on board 200 tons of salt. The Tom Toby 
when last seen was in hot pursuit of two Mexican schooners; this 
pursuit will undoubtedly prove successful, as "Fortune ever favors 
the brave." It is gratifying to reflect that our flag flaunts over one 
brave band, whose dauntless spirits delight to career with the 
"stormy petrel," over the tossing billows where danger lights the 
"Path to glory and to fame." 2 

In the early part of February, 1837, a mutiny was reported to 
have taken place on the Thomas Toby in which the doctor and 
purser were said to have been murdered. The mutiny was quelled, 
and the murderers lodged in prison in New Orleans. 3 The secre- 
tary of the navy in his report of September 30, 183 7, 4 recom- 
mended the purchase of the vessel by the government; but before 
this recommendation could be acted upon, she was lost in the great 
storm off Galveston, in October, 1837. 5 

^Tennison's Journal, November 10, 1836. 

2 Tennison's Journal, Thursday, June 8, 1837. This capture of the brig 
loaded with salt is briefly noted by the National Intelligencer, August 2, 

3 National Intelligencer, February 25, 1837. 

4 Archives of the Department of State, Texas. 

5 Tennison Papers, 332. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 29 

Many years afterwards two cannon were found near Virginia 
Point, and identified as those belonging to the Thomas Toby; they 
were purchased by the Galveston Artillery Company. These par- 
ticular cannon had been presented to Texas by the ladies of Hav- 
ana, as the following letter indicates : 

War Department, Columbia, 
Dec. 3rd, 183G. 
To Messrs. Thomas Toby and Bros. : 

Gents. I am instructed by the house of Representatives of the 
Republic of Texas, to take necessary measures to procure two 
pieces of cannon (brass) which were presented by the ladies of 
Havana to the Republic. By a letter received by Messrs. Shriver 
and Grayson, it appears that they received from you on board the 
schooner Thomas Toby two brass cannons, and they are under the 
impression they are the pieces alluded to. You will please inform 
me as soon as possible if such is the case. 

William G. Cook, 

Acting Sec't'y. 

The Thomas Toby was named for the government agent of 
Texas in New Orleans. 1 It was said in a New Orleans paper 
that the vessel was commanded by Captain Suares. 2 I can find his 
name mentioned but once, and in no other place, and presume that 
he must have been the first lieutenant who temporarily had com- 
mand; it is possible also that this was a typographical error for 
(Jas.) Sever, who later was lieutenant on the Invincible. 

The Flash, Captains Luke A. Falvel, and Marstella, seems to 
have been the next privateer fitted out for Texas — under just what 
circumstances, and by whom I am unable to discover. On March 
12, 1836, Falvel received his commission as captain in the navy 
from Robert Potter, and the crew was sworn in. 3 The Flash was 
ordered to proceed to the south of the Brazos, take on board all 
the women and children in that section of the country who were 
fleeing before the Mexican advance, in the "Runaway Scrape," 
carry them to Morgan's Point, at the head of Galveston Bay, and 
defend that place in the event of an attack. Upon this occasion 

'Shipman, Frontier Life, 386. 

'Clipping in Dienst, Col. Doc, I, 25. The clipping is probably from the 
Commercial Bulletin, but its dale is uncertain. 

8 Ben C. Stuart in Galveston News, October 8, ISO!). The Proceedings of 
the General Council do not mention Falvel. 

30 The Texas Privateers. 

the Flash had on board the two famous pieces of artillery known 
as the "Twin Sisters," which did such execution in the battle of 
San Jacinto a short time after; and upon arriving at Morgan's 
Point they were sent up to Harrisburg on the sloop Opie, Lieu- 
tenant Aaron Burns, and delivered to the proper officers. A short 
time after the arrival of the Flash at Morgan's Point the express 
rider for the Texas Cabinet, Michael McCormick, came in and re- 
ported that he was unable to find the Texan army, which was sup- 
posed to be on the retreat. Upon receipt of this intelligence, Cap- 
tain Falvel was ordered to take on board all the families about the 
bay, and proceed towards Galveston Island. Accordingly there 
were embarked on board the Flash all the members of the Texan 
Cabinet who were at the Point, together with their wives and 
children. Among the number were Bailey Hardeman, secretary 
of state, his wife and two sons; Colonel Thomas, secretary of the 
treasury; Colonel Eobert Potter, secretary of the navy; Mrs. Bur- 
net, wife of President Burnet, and her son William; Lorenzo de 
Zavala and his three children. President Burnet declined to leave; 
and upon Captain Falvel's asking for instructions, he was directed 
to proceed at once to Galveston Island with the women and chil- 
dren, and defend the place if an attack were made. The next 
morning the vessel had proceeded down the bay to a point mid- 
way between Clopper's Point and Eed Fish Bars, when President 
Burnet came on board in a small boat. On arriving at Galveston 
Island, the Flash came to anchor off the old Mexican customhouse, 
which stood near the corner of Avenue A. and Eleventh Street. 
The next day, April 20, the women and children were landed and 
the Flash proceeded to Fort Point, in order to defend the place 
if attacked by sea. During the trip there were about 150 persons 
on the little vessel. One historian 1 says that on April 26th "Most 
of the families of refugees were already on the schooner Flash, 
Captain Falvel, ready to sail for New Orleans, and had orders to 
sail that morning as Santa Anna was expected every day at the 
Island. The captain declined to attempt to cross the bar until 
there was a change of wind, and while waiting, the messenger, 
Col. Calder, arrived with the news of the battle of San Jacinto; 

thrall, 521. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 31 

this victory put a quietus on the terror stricken inhabitants of 
Texas who were ileeing the country ." In May, 1837, the Flash 
was reported stranded on shore. 1 Whether she got off at this time 
and later suffered another accident, I cannot find out; but it is 
possibly to the same mishap that another writer 2 refers when he 
says that the Flash, under Captain Marstella, was lost at the west 
end of the island (Galveston), her captain having mistaken SaK 
Luis pass for the entrance to Galveston harbor. Among the 
special laws passed at the the extra session of the Tenth Legisla- 
ture, number twenty-three, there is an appropriation of "$5022.21 
to Luke A. Falvel for services as sailing master in the navy of 
the late Republic of Texas, and authorizing the comptroller to 
pay the same in the new issue of Confederate Treasury notes." 3 
This is the last item that I. have been able to obtain relative to the 
Flash and her commander. 

The next armed vessel which assisted Texas, was the steamboat 
Ocean, Captain Grayson, the same who, as lieutenant, was left in 
charge of the San Felipe, as related in chapter I. This vessel 
was paid for mainly by the aid of subscriptions of citizens of Mo- 
bile, her equipment costing some five to eight thousand dollars.* 
It was on board the Ocean that the notorious H. A. Hubbell and 
the volunteers from New Orleans arrived on June 3 at Velasco, 5 
and had Santa Anna taken to shore, as he was about to depart for 
Mexico, in conformity with the treaty entered into by him and 
the Texas government. In July, 1836, we find her again giving 
help to the Texas cause. The schooner Brutus was at Matagorda, 
blockaded by the Mexican brig of war Vencedor del Alamo, and 
she was expected to be relieved "by the sch's Invincible, Union, 
and other vessels that had gone there in tow of the steamboat 
Ocean, for the purpose of capturing the brig. The steamboat was 
laden with volunteers, and for her protection there was raised a 
breastwork of cotton bales. 6 She was successful in rescuing the 

National Intelligencer, May 30, 1837. 

2 Ben C. Stuart, in the Galveston News, October 8, 1899. 

8 Texas Almanac, 1865, p. 34. 

*A Vin/lication of the Conduct of the Agency of Texas, a pamphlet by 
William Bryan, in Dienst. Col. Doc, II, 1G. 

/;/ Correo Atlantico, New Orleans, June 20, 1836. Thrall (547) calls 
her the "Ocean Queen." 

"New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, July 18, 1836. 

32 Naval Vessels Bought and Equipped. 

Brutus from her perilous position. As to what became of her later 
on, there are no data. 

This finishes the last of those vessels that served as regularly 
commissioned privateers, and that can properly be termed Texan 
vessels, acting as a navy for Texas until her vessels of war were 
fully prepared to defend her coast. There were other vessels that 
aided Texas, notably the Julius Caesar, Captains Lightburn and 
Moore; the Champion; the Flora; the Yellow Stone, commanded 
by Captain Grayson ; and other vessels that acted as transports for 
munitions of war and provisions, and in bringing volunteers to 
Texas. Since, however, their registers and papers emanated from 
the United States Government, and they were ostensibly in the 
trade between the United States and Texas, they can not be given 
a distinct place in a history of the Texas Navy. Nor did they 
win any great victory; but in the formative days of the new Ee- 
public the value of these small privateers to the government of 
Texas, in captures, and in protection of the coast was incalculable, 
and deserves honorable mention. Let not Texas in her present 
greatness despise the day of small things. 


The navy of Texas became a reality in January and February, 
1836, when four vessels of war were purchased. These were the 
Liberty, Invincible, Independence, and Brutus; and during 1836 
and 1837 they comprised the total strength of the navy. The 
Liberty was the rechristened William Bobbins, and we have al- 
ready seen how the government acquired it. 1 At the same time 
that the purchase of the William Robbins was authorized (Jan- 
uary 3) the naval committee of the General Council reported 
that "Messrs. McKinney and Williams, through Mr. Williams, 
have made a purchase of, and equipped a schooner of about one 
hundred and twenty-six tons burthen, adapted to the object of 
protecting our commerce against the enemy. This vessel, called 
the Invincible/ is now in the Bay of Galveston, and is generously 
offered to the Government of Texas, by the owners, at first cost 
and charges." The committee were of the opinion that the pro- 

x See above, pp. 25-26. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 33 

tection of our own commerce, the destruction of that of the enemy, 
and the transportation of our supplies by water were of the high- 
est importance, and made the possession of an adequate naval force 
indispensable; they therefore advised that u a suitable agent be 
appointed to examine the schooner 'Invincible/ and her equip- 
ments, and if suited to the objects of cruising in the Gulf, or about 
our coasts that an immediate purchase be made of the vessel/' 
The report was adopted, and an ordinance making it effective was 
passed on January 5, 1836. 1 The same ordinance also adopted the 
United States naval regulations for Texas. 

As has already been stated, Governor Smith did not believe that 
the Council should create confusion by meddling with a power 
delegated to the commissioners to the United States, and on Janu- 
ary 6, he asked for the particulars respecting the Invincible} 
This was the beginning of the quarrel between the governor and 
the Council; and so far as it concerns the Invincible we must fol- 
low it. On the 8th a committee to which had been referred the 
governor's message asking for information, reported that the or- 
dinance which was now in his hands would furnish all the in- 
formation necessary. At a special evening session the same day 
Mr. Barret offered the following resolutions : 

Whereas, the Mexican sloop of war, Montezuma, is now reported 
to be in the bay of Galveston, and Texas is not in full possession of 
any vessel of sufficient force to meet her in action, and whereas 
the schooner Invincible is offered to the government of Texas, by 
Messrs. McKinney and Williams, upon terms which Government 
accepts, therefore, 

Be it resolved, that a register of said schooner Invincible be 
made as the property of the Government, under he directions of 
the Governor, who is hereby authorized to execute the same, and 
give a duplicate thereof into the hands of Thomas F. McKinney, 
as evidence of the ownership of said vessel, and to retain the other 
on the files of the execuive office. 

Be it further resolved, that the governor is advised and author- 
ized to issue to Thomas F. McKinney, a letter of appointment as 
commander of the schooner Invincible, as a national vessel of Avar, 
removable at the pleasure of the Governor and Council, and in- 

l ProccrrUngH of the General Council, 250-252; Gammel, Laws of Terns, 
T, 1031-1033! 
2 1 bid., 266. 

34 Naval Vessels Bought and Equipped. 

struct said McKinney to take command of said vessel of war, and 
man and provide her for a criuse against the enemy, within the 
Gulf of Mexico or any of its waters, until further ordered. 1 . . . 

The resolution was adopted, and a committee of two instructed 
to wait on the governor with the purpose of immediately carrying 
it into effect. Just what took place between this committee and 
the governor has never transpired, but the governor was greatly 
angered against the Council, as his message will prove. He evi- 
dently gained the impression that the Council was trying by foul 
means to drive him to do its will regardless of his own opinions. 
It will be recalled that he was hurried into granting letters of 
marque by the report that the Montezuma was endangering the 
Texan coast. 2 It was either a strange coincidence, thought the 
governor, that just as another law relative to the navy was being 
passed the Montezuma should re-appear, or that the men who 
wished to pass the bill recalled their former success in shouting 
"the wolf ! the wolf !" and again raised the cry with the expecta- 
tion of "railroading" the measure through. This must have been 
Governor Smith's belief when he wrote the message quoted in part 
below : 

. . . You urge me by resolutions to make appointments, fit 
out vessels, as government vessels, registering them as such, ap- 
pointing landsmen to command a naval expedition by making 
representations urgent in their nature, and for what. I see no 
reason but to carry into effect by the hurried and improvident acts 
of my department, the views of your favorite object by getting my 
sanction to an act disorganizing in its nature, and ruinous in its 
effects. Instead of acting as becomes the counsellors and guardians 
of a free people; you resolve yourselves into low, intriguing, 
caucussing parties, pass resolutions without a quorum, predicated 
on false premises, and endeavor to ruin the country by counte- 
nancing, aiding and abetting marauding parties, 3 and if you could 
only deceive me enough, you would join with it a piratical co- 
operation. You have acted in bad faith, and seem determined by 

Proceedings of the General Council, 282-84. 

2 See above, p. 11. 
8 This expression evidently refers to the Matamoras expedition. See The 
Quarterly, V, 312 et seq. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 35 

your acts to destroy the very institutions which you are pledged 
and sworn to support. . . . Mexican like, you are ready to 
sacrifice your country at the shrine of plunder. . . . Base 
corruption has crept into your councils, men who, if possible, 
would deceive their God. . . . The appointment and in- 
structions founded on the resolutions predicated on false premises, 
shall now be tested. I will immediately countermand the order 
made out in such haste, and as you say, and as her register says, 
the armed vessel Invincible is a Government vessel, I will imme- 
diately order a suitable officer of the Government to go and take 
charge of her in the name of the Government, and hold her sub- 
ject to my order. And if that be refused, I will immediately re- 
call her register by proclamation to the world. I would further 
suggest to you that our foreign agents have been commissioned 
and specially instructed to fill out our navy, and procure the proper 
officers and crews; and unless they can be certainly informed of 
the absolute purchase in time, to prevent their purchase of a sim- 
ilar one, the purchase so made by you, shall never be ratified or 
become binding on this Government; because you would do the 
Government serious injury by meddling with matters which you 
have put out of your power by special appointment. 1 

The governor closed his message by declaring the Council ad- 
journed until March 1, and said that until then he would contrive 
to discharge his duties as commander-in-chief of the army and 

This message, naturally, created a sensation. The Council re- 
ferred it to a committee which on the 11th reported resolutions 
deposing the governor and appointing Lieutenant-Governor James 
W. Robinson to take his place. The resolutions were adopted and 
an address to the people was issued by the Council presenting its 
side of the quarrel, but we will leave the matter here and resume 
the history of the Invincible. 2 

Lieutenant-Governor Robinson, in his message to the Council, 
January 14, 1836, said, "As a necessary and important measure 
that stands intimately connected with the defense of the country, 
and one to which I invite your attention, is the creation and due 

1 Proceed™ ry.<? of the General Council, 200-202. 
2 Ibid., 204-302. 

36 Naval Vessels Bought and Equipped. 

organization of a corps of marines, and as you have purchased 
two vessels for the public service, and shortly expect two more, to 
be purchased by your agents abroad, it would be very desirable to 
have that corps organized, and ready for service, with as little 
delay as possible." 1 On February 3, Governor Smith, who never 
acknowledged being deposed, issued to Thomas E. Jackson a war- 
rant to demand certain papers from the Council, among them one 
showing "the terms on which the armed vessel Invincible has been 
tendered and accepted by the Government." 2 This is the last ut- 
terance of Governor Smith or the General Council relative to the 
Invincible and the navy. 

On March 1 the General Convention superseded the General 
Council and brought order out of chaos. ^After the declaration of 
Texan independence, on March 2, 1836, the Convention turned to 
the formation of a constitution, and on the 9th a draft was re- 
ported which touched the subject of the navy as follows : Congress 
was empowered to "grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make 
rules concerning captures on land and water," to "provide and 
maintain a navy, to raise and support armies, and to make rules 
for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;" 
the president was declared to be commander-in-chief of the army 
and navy; and judges of the supreme and inferior courts were 
given exclusive admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. 3 

Thursday, March 10, Mr. Carson stated "that he had received 
information of the arrival of the Brutus and Invincible, at the 
mouth of the river Brazos, destined for the service of the Republic 
of Texas ; and that it was important to commission those vessels ; 
he would, therefore, move that a select committee on naval affairs 
be raised, to inquire into and report in relation thereto. This was 
decided in the affirmative, and the president appointed Messrs. 
Potter, Everett, and Fisher of Matagorda." 4 On Sunday the 13th, 
the chairman appointed Messrs. Carson and Fisher, of Mata- 
gorda, a committee "to forward commissions, etc., to our naval 

'^Proceedings of the General Council, 325. 
2 Ibid., 351-52. 

8 Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 862, 863, 865. 
'Ibid., I, 881. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 37 

oommanders ;" and the same day Mr. Carson introduced a resolu- 
tion "That a standing committee of live on naval affairs be ap- 
pointed to draw up and forward all necessary instructions and 
orders for the government of the officers of our navy." This was 
adopted; and the president appointed Messrs. S. Khoads Fisher, 
Hamilton, Zavala, Gazley, and Carson. The next day Mr. Carson 
resigned from the committee and was replaced by Mr. Waller. At 
the same time the chairman, Fisher, reported that they had ap- 
pointed and commissioned the following persons officers in the naval 
service of Texas, to-wit: "George Wheelright, Captain to schooner 
Liberty; Charles Hawkins, Captain to schooner Independence [ ;] 
Jerimiah Brown, captain to schooner Invincible; William A. 
Hurd, Captain to schooner Brutus; Arthur Bobertson, Captain of 
marines." The report stated also that the committee had for- 
warded letters of instructions to said officers. 1 As this is our in- 
troduction to the two vessels Brutus and Independence, and as 
nothing further is to be found in the government proceedings con- 
cerning their purchase, we must seek elsewhere for the informa- 
tion, as well as for additional matter relative to the Invincible. 

Besides the Liberty, Independence, and Brutus, the records of 
the period mention two other vessels in the government service. 
One of these, the Cayuga, was a small steamboat, commanded by 
Captain William P. Harris, and carrying two light guns. Appar- 
ently it did not belong to the government, but was impressed by 
President Burnet and ordered to the defence of Galveston Island, 
April 28, 1836. 2 After this emergency no more is heard of it. 
The other was the Correo. This was a Mexican vessel captured 
by the Brutus, August 12, 1837. She was apparently attached to 
the navy during 1837-1838, and in the State Library there is a 
list of her officers, but I have been unable to find that she per- 
formed any definite service for the country. 

The Invincible was purchased in Baltimore by McKinney anci 

'Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 890, 891, 892. 

-T'.ras Almanac, 1869, p. 58. Those interested in studying conditions 
in Galveston at this period will find much valuable material in the 
archives of the Texas Historical Society of Galveston. The collection con- 
tains several hundred original letters of James Morgan and President 
Burnet. Through the courtesy of the secretary, Mr. E. G. Littlejohn, I 
was permitted to examine them. 

38 Naval Vessels Bought and Equipped. 

Williams for $12,613.02, and they charged the government of 
Texas twelve and one-half per cent commission. 1 Besides this, 
General Thomas J. Green paid out of his private funds a consid- 
erable sum to fit her out, and William Bryan and Edward Hall, 
respectively general agent and purchasing agent for Texas in New 
Orleans, paid out $5,626.68 for the same purpose; making the 
total cost of the Invincible nearly $20,000. 2 At this time Thomas 
F. McKinney held a commission as her commander; but it was 
merely a nominal command, for he made no cruise. As already 
stated, the Invincible was of one hundred and twenty-five tons 
burthen, built in Baltimore, and originally intended for the African 
slave trade. She was a very fast sailer, slight in her construc- 
tion, "clipper built," drawing about twelve feet of water, and 
originally calculated to sustain a battery. She carried two medium 
eighteens on pivots amidship, with two nines and four six- 
pounders in the waist, and was intended to have a crew of 
seventy. The Liberty, though smaller, being of some sixty 
tons burthen, was of stouter construction, carried four guns of 
small caliber, and was an ordinary sailer. The Brutus, of one 
hundred and twenty-five tons burthen, was a slow sailer, and 
carried eight guns. The Independence was of about the same 
description as the Brutus. It was fitted out by General Green 
in New Orleans, largely from his private funds, at the same 
time that he helped to equip the Invincible. The Brutus had been 
intended for the Texan service as early as December, but her de- 
parture was delayed by the petition of twenty-eight underwriters 
of New Orleans to United States District Attorney Carleton, claim- 
ing that she was being "armed with six cannon, and one large one 
on a pivot for the purpose of capturing Mexican vessels, which, 
with their cargoes are principally insured by the underwriters of 
this city." Carleton replied deploring the fact that they did not 
furnish him with affidavits and the names of witnesses in order 
that he might have something more substantial than rumors upon 
which to base legal proceedings, and promising to enforce the law 

1 McKinney, To All who may have Been and Bead, etc. (pamphlet, Co- 
lumbia, 1836), p. 10. 

2 A Vindication of the Conduct of the Agency of Texas, in New Orleans 
(pamphlet, 1836), pp. 12-18. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 39 

when provided with the necessary evidence that a hreach of it was 
contemplated. 1 After the Brutus had been offered to the Texan 
Government she was detained in New Orleans a while; but some 
time between January 23 and February 15, 1836, she arrived at 
Matagorda. This appears from a report made by the advisory 
committee of the Council to Acting Governor J. W. Kobinson, on 
February 15, 1836. 2 The Independence was fitted out by the New 
Orleans agents at the same time as the Invincible, Brutus, and 
Liberty. Her cost was $5000 for the vessel, and some $5000 for 
outfitting. 3 

Having given as complete a history of the purchase and equip- 
ment of these vessels as our material permits, we will now 
follow each vessel in her various cruises, and note such events as 
are worthy of a place in a history of the navy of Texas. To the 
Liberty, which was the first vessel bought for the government, 
and whose career was the shortest and in its inglorious ending the 
saddest of all the fleet, will be devoted the following chapter. 


While, as noted in the last chapter, instructions were being car- 
ried to Captain George Wheelwright, the newly appointed com- 
mander of the Liberty, Captain William S. Brown, intent upon a 
capture, was cruising on the high seas with the Liberty, seeking 
Mexican vessels. On March 3, 1836, he fell in with the Pelicano, 
a trading schooner, commanded by Captain Perez. 1 The Pelicano 
was cleared from the port of New Orleans on February 25, 1836, 
by James W. Zachari, with a cargo purporting to consist of 550 
barrels of flour; but in each barrel after the capture it was found 
that there were concealed three kegs of gunpowder intended for 
the Mexican army. The Pelicano was a Baltimore built vessel of 
the first class, carrying three large brass pieces, and having on 
board, besides her crew, twenty soldiers, double armed with mus- 
kets.'" As the Liberty carried but four small guns, she was really 

v House Exec. Docs., 25 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 74, pp. 12-13. 

2 Papers of the General Council, file No. 433. 

8 A Vindication of the Conduct of the Agency of Texas, in New Orleans, 
p. 5. Pamphlet, p. 5, Dienst, Col. Doc., Vol. II, 16. 

'Commercial Advertiser, Now Orleans, April 25, 1836; undated clipping 
from the New Orleans True American, Austin Papers. 

"House Journal, 3d Tex. Cong., 114. 

40 The Liberty. 

venturesome to attempt the capture, especially as the fight took 
place within point blank range of the guns of the port of Sisal. 
Three of the Liberty's men, led by James O'Connor, 1 boarded the 
Pelicano. Before others could go to their assistance they killed 
seven marines, and caused several others to jump overboard, and 
the remainder to seek refuge beneath the hatches. The prize was 
manned with a crew and carried to Matagorda Bay, where she was 
wrecked in attempting to cross the bar. 2 The cargo, however, 
was saved. In landing, some of the barrels were stove in, and it 
was then that they were, upon examination, found to contain 
powder. 3 

It seems that Zachari and Company denied that the powder was 
on board the Pelicano. When this denial came to the knowledge 
of Captain Brown, he addressed the following letter to John Gib- 
son, editor of the True American, a paper friendly to Texas: 

Galveston Bay, May 8, 1836. 
To the Editor of the True American. 

Sir — By Capt. Appleton, I am informed that J. W. Zacherie 
denied that there was any Powder on board schooner Pelicano. I 
do assure you that there was 280 kegs — whether he knew it or not, 
I am not able to say. In addition to the above quantity, there 
were a number stowed in barrels of apples, potatoes, etc. I have 
found a number of letters on the Prize which proved the above fact. 
I feel it to be my duty to state these facts in regard to the Powder. 
There was no mention made of it on the manifest. 

My situation requires that I should keep a constant lookout, 
and when I see the Mexican flag flying, I shall either take it or 
be taken. I can not fly from a Mexican, and will not. 
Eespectfully yours, 

Commander Schooner Liberty. (Texian.) 

In a proclamation of March 31, 1836, General Houston refers 
to the capture of the Pelicano as follows : "Captain Brown, with 
one of our vessels, has taken a Mexican vessel with 420 barrels 
of flour, 300 kegs of powder and other supplies for the army." 4 

Archives of Texas, file 2424. 

2 TelegrapJi and Texas Register, August 18, 1838, Austin Papers. 
3 New Orleans Commercial Advertiser, April 25, 1836, Austin Papers. 
Proclamation to the people of the east of Brazos, March 31, 1836. 
Copy in an unidentified newspaper clipping. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 41 

From the date of Captain Brown's letter above, it is evident 
that he was in Galveston Bay May 8, 1836. Whether he relin- 
quished the command of the Liberty at this time to George Wheel- 
wright, who had been commissioned on March 12, there is no evi- 
dence to show; but from a short sketch of Brown, which after- 
wards appeared in the Telegraph and Texas Register, 1 lie seems 
at about this time to have committed some act which caused Com- 
modore Hawkins to order his confinement in irons, and for this 
he resigned. In the summer of 1836 President Burnet gave him 
another commission, with the express understanding that he was 
not again to be subject to the order of Commodore Hawkins. He 
went to New Orleans to get a boat and there died. 2 

It is very probable that in May or June, 1836, Captain Wheel- 
right took command of the Liberty, but her next cruise to New 
Orleans was her last. She accompanied as a convoy the schooner 
Flora with the wounded General Sam Houston on board, and 
arrived at New Orleans May 22, 1836. 3 She was here detained 
on account of repairs, and in July was sold to pay the cost of 
them. 4 In the legislative halls of Texas we hear an echo of the 
Liberty in after years in the form of a petition from the captors 
of the schooner Pelicano for their share of the prize. The peti- 
tion was favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee, whose 
report recites, among other things, that the district court of Bra- 
zoria county, which by law was invested with admiralty jurisdic- 
tion, had duly condemned the Pelicano and her cargo as lawful 
prize; that the value of the cargo of flour was $7584.05; and that 
half of that amount was due the captors. 5 The committee, there- 
fore, recommended a joint resolution for the payment of their 
just share to the officers, crew, and marines of the Liberty. James 
O'Connor, the first man to board the Pelicano, w T as to receive an 
extra share. 6 

This closes the history of the Liberty, whose career, while brief, 

1 August 18, 1838. 

2 Captain William Brown was a younger brother of Jeremiah Brown, 
who was appointed captain of the Invincible. 

3 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, May 23, 1836. 

4 Henry W. Morfit, Report, Velasco, Texas, August 13, 1836; in Senate 
Decs., 24th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Serial No. 297), Doc. 20, p. 5. 

'"House Journal, 3d Tex. Cong., 114. 

e Archives of Texas, file No. 2424. 

42 The Invincible. 

was not unworthy of her name, save in her ending, which, if a 
reflection at all, is rather on her government than on herself. 


In Chapter IV the Invincible was left at the point where, on 
March 12, 1836, Captain Jeremiah Brown was appointed by the 
General Consultation to her command. 1 With his commission he 
also received orders to cruise along the coast and engage or drive 
off the Mexican war vessel, Montezuma. This vessel had so far 
done no great harm to the Texan interests, but since she was first 
reported off the Texan coast in November, 1835, shippers had 
lived in constant dread of her. After patroling the coast for some 
time, Captain Brown received a hint to search for the Montezuma 
near the mouth of the Eio Grande. He arrived there opportunely. 
An embargo had been laid by the Mexican government on all 
vessels in the port of Matamoras in order to prevent information 
reaching the Texans of an expedition which was being prepared 
to land two thousand men at Copano Bay. The Montezuma, now 
rechristened the Bravo, 2 had just crossed the bar at the mouth of the 
Eio Grande, which is some thirty-five miles from Matamoras, and 
had lost her rudder. On the third of April, at ten o* clock a. m., while 
she was waiting to refit inside, the Invincible came in sight from 
the north. At 12 o'clock she came opposite, and Lieutenant Wil- 
liam H. Leving, in a small boat, went on board the Bravo. The 
Bravo, becoming suspicious, slipped her cable and endeavored to 
retreat with Lieutenant Leving on board. A sharp engagement 

1 In the course of her career the following officers served for varying 
terms on the Invincible: Captains Jeremiah Brown and Henry L 
Thompson ; Lieutenants F. Johnson, William H. Leving, P. W. Hum- 
phreys, Newcomb, James Perry, Harrie Hornsby, Randolph 

Lee, Logan, James Melius, and James Sever; Surgeons 0. P. 

Kelton and Dunn; Purser F. T. Wells; Sailing Masters Daniel Lloyd 

and Abbott; Midshipmen Alf. A. Wate and Robert Foster ; Boatswain 

Smith; Gunner Fred Franson; Captain of Marines F. M. Gibson; Lieu- 
tenants of M'arines F. Ward and — ■ Brooks. This list, which is 

compiled from Tennison's Journal, the New Orleans newspapers, and The 
Texas Almanac, 1860-65, is as complete as I can make it. 

Yoakum, II, 124, says that L. Brown commanded the Invincible; there 
was no Captain L. Brown, and Captain W. S. Brown commanded the 
Liberty. The Texas Almanac, 1860, p. 58, says that Captain I. B. Brown 
commanded the Invincible; this also is an error. 

2 The Matamoras correspondents of the New Orleans papers call the 
vessel the Bravo, but explain that it was formerly the Montezuma. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 43 

then took place. The Bravo could* not be steered, and ran aground 
near the north beach, where she was almost completely wrecked 
by a broadside from the Invincible. The crew reached the shore 
in safety, carrying with them Lieutenant Leving. The Invincible 
sustained no damage, but Lieutenant Leving was shot as a pirate 
on April 14, 1836. 

While the action was going on between the Invincible and the 
Bravo, at two p. m. the Pocket came in sight. This vessel was 
from Boston, commanded by Elijah Howes, who sailed from New 
Orleans on the 28th day of March, laden with a cargo, shipped by 
Lizardi and Company of that city, generally understood to be 
Mexican agents. Captain Brown captured the Pocket and sailed 
into Galveston, where it was detained. Captain Howes and some 
of his crew proceeded to New Orleans, where he filed with the 
United States district attorney a protest against the capture. This 
reads as follows: 1 

. . . at half past two o'clock P. M. saw two sails off the 
Brassos, St. Jago, which fired several guns each; ... in a 
short time the schooner which carried the Mexican flag bore away 
and stood for the shore, and the other vessel tacked ship and stood 
for his brig, she being about three or four miles distant ; . . . they 
kept this course and said vessel run a short distance to the wind- 
ward and spoke them. . . . The captain answered he was from 
New Orleans, and bound for Matamoras. The schooner that 
made these inquiries, proved to be the Texian armed vessel In- 
vincible, Brown, commander, who ran a short distance past them, 
and then tacked ship and ran close to the windward of them. 
That said schooner then sent her boat on board the brig, with 
orders to Captain Howes, to proceed on board the Invincible with 
his papers, which was accordingly obeyed; . . . Abbott, sail- 
ing master of said vessel, — with one officer and several armed men 
took charge of the brig, . . . [and] the Texian flag of 1824 
was hoisted in its place at the main peak of the Invincible. . . . 

The protest then recites that, after remaining at this point for 
two days, the two vessels sailed together, reaching the mouth of 
the Brazos after a voyage of forty-eight hours. On arriving at 
Galveston the next day, they were detained there until April 24, 
1836, when Captain Howes and his crew received permission to 
sail for New Orleans. They were informed by the Texan authori- 
ties that the Pocket would be retained as a guard ship. Upon this 

'An unidentified newspaper clipping. 

44 The Invincible. 

Captain Howes told them that he would abandon her. This he 
did, losing cargo, freight, and passage money. He arrived at New 
Orleans on the tenth day of May, and noted this protest: 

And thereupon these said officers, and especially the said master, 
did protest, and with them I, notary, at their request, do most sol- 
emnly and publicly protest: 

First, against the winds and the waves and the danger of the 
sea generally. 

Second, against the illegal capture and detention of the afore- 
said vessel and cargo. 

The Invincible was denounced as a pirate to Commodore Dallas, 
who was commanding a United States squadron at Pensacola, and 
he ordered the sloop Warren to capture her, which was done on 
May l. 1 The Invincible was carried into New Orleans, and forty- 
six of the crew were imprisoned. Captain Brown was not on the 
vessel when it was captured. On May 4, the prisoners were called 
for trial; but witnesses for the prosecution did not appear, and 
the case was postponed until the 6th, 2 when it was taken up be- 
fore Judge Rawle of the United States district court. 3 The law- 
yers for the defense were Messrs. Seth Barton, Eandall Hunt, and 
0. P. Jackson. But four witnesses were examined. Three officers 
of the Warren testified that they had taken the Invincible on 
charges preferred against her by an insurance company of New 
Orleans that she had detained an American vessel. The court 
here adjourned until the following day, when the case came up 
again. No affidavits appearing, and no evidence being introduced 
to warrant a commitment for trial, the prisoners were discharged. 
The Commercial Bulletin 4 " reviewed the case as follows: 

. . . We have never seen a finer collection of robust, and 
honest faced tars, than the prisoners, and in a good cause, we 
should ever hope, that they might prove invincible. . . . 

The defense of the Texans was that the vessel was captured 
in Mexican waters for contravening the laws of the Republic, i. e. 
Texas, by having on board contraband goods, powder, etc., and 
for contravening the laws of Nations by having on board material 
of war for the use and advantage of Santa Anna, who was im- 
patiently awaiting the same. . . . They also said the vessel 

Weio Orleans Bee, May 3, 1836. 

2 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, May 5, 1836. 

3 Ibid., May 7, 1836. 


The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 45 

was detained for examination, by reason of her having two of 
Santa Anna's spies on board, with plans and charts to aid in the 
downfall of Texas, which was proven. The captain not being 
able to read Spanish in which the invoices and correspondence 
were written carried her before the admiralty court of Texas, where 
the truth came out. The court finding the Pocket laden with 
contraband goods, purchased with Santa Anna's money by his 
agent Lizardi, condemned them as a lawful prize, paid the cap- 
tain his freight, nine hundred dollars, and later dismissed the 
vessel as neutral. 

Captain Brown now came forward and was arrested, but was 
immediately released and thus escaped the preliminary jail term 
which the crew suffered. The episode closed with a letter of 
thanks from the Texans in New Orleans to the attorneys for the 
defense for their efficient service, part of which is as follows: 1 

New Orleans, May 7, 1836. 
To Seth Barton, Randal Hunt and 0. P. Jackson, Esqrs. 

Gentlemen: We the undersigned citizens of Texas, embrace 
this opportunity of expressing to you our most heartfelt gratitude, 
in behalf of the officers and crew of the Texian man of war 
schooner Invincible, that of our country and ourselves, for the very 
able, lucid and eloquent manner, in which you defended the noble 
and grateful crew, from the false imputation of piracy, brought 
against them by the secret Mexican influence of this city. . . . 
If in some future day you should visit our beautiful land, which 
is destined to be one of the most prosperous and happy on earth, 
your reflection must be pleasing indeed, to know you were among 
the number who voluntarily contributed to our righteous cause. 

Brig'r Gen. of the Army of Texas. 

WM. BRYAN, Texas Agent. 

l New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, May 10, 1836. 

46 The Invincible. 

All claims against Texas on account of the Pocket were finally 
settled by a convention between the Texan government and that 
of the United States, the ratifications of which were exchanged 
July 6, 1838. The amount agreed upon was $11,750, which was 
paid, together with accrued interest, July 6, 1849. The whole 
amount was $12,455. 1 

After her release the Invincible was used for coast defense. In 
June, 1836, she figured in another exciting incident. In accord- 
ance with the treaty of Velasco, concluded May 14, 1836, the 
Texan government determined to transport President Santa Anna 
to Vera Cruz, and for that purpose he had already embarked on 
the Invincible, when, on the 5th of June, General Thomas Jeffer- 
son Green arrived with volunteers from New Orleans in the Ocean, 
and forbade the Invincible to sail. 2 Whether or not it was for 
the good of Texas that Santa Anna was detained and whether or 
not the government could have prevented the detention, will al- 
ways remain debatable questions; but it is in any case a fact that 
Texas violated a treaty in permitting it. 

The Mexican navy at this time was ascertained to be lying in 
port, wanting men, arms and other equipment; 3 so the Invincible 
remained riding at anchor off the bar of Velasco, until July 4, 
when, as already related, she went to the relief of the schooner 
Brutus/ which was blockaded at Matagorda by the Vencedor del 
Alamo. This vessel had been dispatched from Vera Cruz to pro- 
tect the Mexican schooners, Comanche, Fanny Butler, and Watch- 
man, which were laden with provisions for the Mexican troops. 5 
Finding that the Texans had already intercepted these vessels, and 
appropriated their cargoes, the Vencedor del Alamo very wisely 
returned to Vera Cruz. 6 There the Invincible finally found and 

1 For a more detailed account of the case of the Pocket, see the article 
by Mr. Neu in this number of The Quarterly. — Editor Quarterly. 

2 See Williams, Life of Sam Houston, 218-221. 

3 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, June 14 and July 13, 1836. 

4 See The Quarterly, XII, 195. In the navy manuscripts of the Texas 
State Library are several letters dated Velasco, May 30, 1836, disclosing 
a serious misunderstanding between Commodore Hawkins and Captain 
J. Brown. Hawkins wished to remove Brown from the command of the 
Invincible, but he failed to accomplish his object. 

5 New Orleans Commercwl Bulletin, July 18, 1836. 

The story of the capture of these vessels is extremely interesting. 
On the 29th of May , 1836, General Rusk ordered Major Isaac Burton, 
commanding a company of mounted rangers to scour the coast from the 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 47 

challenged her to battle, which was declined on the pretext that 
the crew of the vessel challenged were, for want of pay, not in a 
condition to fight. Later the Invincible fell in with a French 
vessel, and Captain Brown had to explain that he was not a pirate, 
but was sailing under the flag of Texas. The captain of the 
Frenchman was greatly surprised; for he had never heard of such 
a country, and did not know where it was ; and he could not realize 
the fact of the creation of a new republic, not known to him. 1 

The Invincible now went to New Orleans; and after taking on 
board as passengers Branch T. Archer and William H. Wharton, 
she left, on July 13, 1836, for Galveston. 2 From here she cruised 
to Velasco, and about August 4 3 was ordered by President D. Gr. 
Burnet to New York for much needed repairs. She reached there 
in September, 1836. Unable to leave for want of funds, she 
might have been sold to meet expenses, but Hon. Samuel Swart- 
wout paid her liabilities and let her go. She escaped arrest for 
violation of the neutrality laws of the United States only by run- 
ning away from the vessel sent in pursuit of her. On March 14, 
1837, she reached Galveston once more. 

In the preceding October General Sam Houston had succeeded 
to the Presidency of Texas under the permanent government; and, 
in making his nominations to the Senate for commissions in the 
navy, he raised the list of officers to a number commensurate with 
the size of the navy. In April, by orders from the Navy Depart- 

Guadalupe to Refugio. The company, though well mounted and armed, 
consisted of but twenty men. On the 2nd of June they received news 
of a suspicious vessel in the Bay of Copano. By the break of day the 
next morning they were in ambush on the shore, and at eight o'clock, 
a signal was made for the vessel to send its boat ashore. Five men landed 
from the boat, and were promptly made prisoners. It was then manned 
by sixteen of Burton's rangers, who had no difficulty in seizing the 
Watchman. The vessel was ordered round to Velasco; but on the 17th, 
while it was still detained by contrary winds, the Comanche and Fanny 
Butler, also freighted with provisions for the Mexican army, anchored off 
the bar. The captain of the Watchman was made to decoy the com- 
mandpr9 of these vessels on board his own, when they also were captured, 
and all three, with their valuable cargoes, were sent into the port of Velasco 
and condemned. From these bold achievements Major Burton and his 
rangers obtained the popular title of the "Horse Marines." The freight 
— worth $25,000 — was of great service to th^ army. — Telegraph and 
Texas Register, August 2, 1836, and Yoakum. TI, 1G0. 
telegraph and Texas Register, August 16, 1836. 

■ Louisiana I d rrrli<trr, duly 14, 1836. 
*Texo8 Almanac, I860, p. 163. 

48 The Invincible. 

ment, Commander H. L. Thompson assumed the command of the 
Invincible. Accompanied by the Brutus, he first sailed in June 
to the mouth of the Mississippi; but, failing to find any of the 
enemy there, after a cruise of seven or eight days he turned to 
the coast of Mexico. On board with him was the Secretary of 
the Navy, S. Khoads Fisher. The peculiar conduct of Fisher in 
abandoning his official duties at Houston to join in this cruise, he 
sought to justify in a letter to Dr. Bartlett, editor of the New 
York Albion, dated June 17, 1837, of which the essential part is 
in the following excerpt i 1 

It is ten days since I left Houston and immediately joined our 
little squadron, then lying in Galveston Bay, and after convoying 
the schooner Texas, ladened with Government stores to Matagorda 
Bay, up helm and bare away for Galveston, to receive orders from 
the President; we shall be there tomorrow, and shall stretch to 
the southward with the hope of falling in with the enemy. I am 
a volunteer. I can not precisely say amateur, but I have thought 
for some time upon the expediency of personally taking a part 
with the Navy, and have decided it was right. I know, you gen- 
tlemen of systematized governments will smile at the idea of the 
"Secretary of the Navy" turning sailor, and may be inclined to 
consider it better adapted to the adventure seeking disposition of 
the knight of the rueful countenance; but my opinion is that it 
will inspire great confidence in the men, and stimulate our Con- 
gress to do something for us; for it appears that this branch of 
national defense has never been popular in its infancy in any 
country; it ever has been compelled to fight itself into notice and 
government patronage; such at least I am satisfied is our case, and 
I think that my present step is precisely such as will suit the 
meridian of the views of our Texas population. We must be gov- 
erned and actuated by such course as may best suit us; we are 
acting and legislating for ourselves and not for the world, and 
however at variance our system of policy may be with the pre- 
conceived ideas of right or wrong amongst the world at large, I 
humbly conceive that as we have to lie in the bed, we have the 
right to make it. Therefore, it is that however quixotic my pres- 
ent step may appear, and indeed for the United States or Great 
Britain would be, I am satisfied it is right. 

In the course of this cruise several pirogues were captured at 
Mujeres Island. From them sails and provisions were ob- 
tained. In one was found a cargo of log wood, which the cap- 

x See Telegraph and Texas Register, September 9, 1837. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 49 

tain of the pirogue redeemed for $G60 when they arrived at 
Sisal. This place was cannonaded by the Texans for three hours, 
but the attempt to take it was finally abandoned. The sailors and 
marines made repeated landings on this cruise and burned to the 
ground eight or nine towns. On one occasion Secretary of the 
Navy Fisher and Captain Boylan, then commanding the Brutus, 
landing with a few men and leaving their guns with their boat, 
strolled two or three hundred yards from the shore, when they 
were nearly captured by a small body of Mexican cavalry. Secre- 
tary Fisher used a pistol which he chanced to have with him and 
shot one of the Mexicans from his horse. 1 The Mexican fleet 
was meanwhile lying at Vera Cruz unmanned. Close to the 
Alacranes Island, the Eliza Russell, a British schooner in the 
Mexican trade, and the Abispa, 2 a Mexican vessel having on board 
a cargo transferred from the British schooner Little Ten 3 that had 
been wrecked on the island, were added to the list of prizes; but 
the Eliza Russell was soon released. The British government put 
in claims against that of Texas for damages on behalf of the mas- 
ter of the Eliza Russell and the owners of the cargo of the Little 
Pen amounting in the aggregate to about thirteen thousand dollars. 
The Eliza Russell claim — about four thousand dollars — was finally 
paid, but that of the Little Pen was not. 4 

Concerning the capture of the Eliza Russell, President Houston, 
in his message of November 21, 1837, expressed himself as follows : 5 

A circumstance [that] occurred during the last cruise which 
was directed by the executive, demands of me in this communica- 
tion to notice the same to the honorable congress. Orders were 
issued from the navy department by direction of the executive, 
to the commander of the navy that all neutral flags should be 
respected, unless the vessel was bound to an enemy's port, and 

telegraph and Texas Register, August 22, 1837, quoting the Matiagorda 

2 Historians spell this name differently. Yoakum (II, 213) makes it 
"AUspa"; the Texas Almanac, 1860 (p. 164), "Obispo"; Brown (II, 127), 
"Ari.spe"; and Bancroft (II, 283), "Avispa." Bancroft explains at length 
that Avispa means wasp in Spanish; and that therefore, "Avispa" must be 
correct. I use the variant form ''Abispa,'' because it is this which ap- 
pears in the documents I am following. 

■This is the spoiling invariably used by ihe British charge, Elliot. 

4 For further details relative to the cases of the Eliza Russell and the 
Little Pen, sec The Quarterly, IX, 5-7. 

"Telegraph and Texas Register, November 25, 1S37; Crane. Life and 
Select Literary Remains of Sam Houston, 291. 

50 The Invincible. 

had on board articles contraband of war. In violation of these 
orders, the Eliza Kussell, an English brig was seized and sent into 
port, with a valuable cargo of tine goods, but containing nothing- 
contraband of war! Upon information of the circumstances, the 
executive directed her immediate release, and the payment of dam- 
ages, so far as he deemed it within his competency. The subject 
will be presented to Congress by the owner of the vessel, with a 
minute statement of all the facts. The circumstances of the case 
were immediately communicated to our commissioner near the 
court of St. James, and the executive has been assured that the 
despatch would reach England by the time of his arrival. Other 
acts connected with the cruise of a character not calculated to 
elevate us in the scale of nations, were done either without orders, 
or in direct violation of those which had been issued by the de- 

By "other acts," President Houston probably meant S. Ehoads 
Fisher's absence from the seat of government, and the fact that 
the Invincivle overstayed the term of her sailing orders nearly two 
months. For this, and the illegal detention of the Eliza Russell, 
Fisher and Captain Thompson of the Invincible were suspended 
by the President from their duties until they could be tried. 
Fisher's trial took place before the Senate, and resulted in a reso- 
lution sustaining the president in his suspension of the secretary, 
and asking the latter, for the sake of harmony, to resign, while 
declaring at the same time that he was not found guilty of any 
crime or dishonorable conduct. 1 The department of the navy in- 
vestigated the charges against Captain Thompson; 2 but it seems 
he was spared an earthly trial, for on November 1, 1837, he died. 
There was one solitary acknowledgment of his brave and splendid 
services for Texas, the record of which is as follows : "As a mark 
of respect to the memory of Captain H. L. Thompson, of the 
Texian Navy, who died this morning, on motion of Mr. Wharton, 
the Senate adjourned until 3 o'clock P. M." 3 Captain Thompson's 
experiences could hardly have failed to convince him of the truth 
in the old adage that republics are ungrateful. 

On August 26, 1837, the Invincible and the Brutus, with the 
Abispa in tow, entered Galveston harbor. The Brutus entered the 

1 Senate Journal, 2d Tex. Cong., 1st and 2nd Sessions, 74-78, passim; 
Senate resolutions adopted November 28, 1837, Archives of Texas, 805. 
2 House Journal, 2nd Tex. Cong., 1st and 2nd Sessions, 170. 
3 Senate Journal. 2nd Tex. Cong., 42. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 51 

harbor with the Abispaj but, because of unfavorable conditions, 
the Invincible remained outside till morning, when she was at- 
tacked by two Mexican armed brigs, the Vencedor del Alamo and 
the Libertador. In coming to her assistance the Brutus ran aground 
and the Invincible continued the fight alone against both the 
Mexican vessels. Though both of these could outsail her, they 
would not risk an attempt to board, and were several times forced 
to draw away from close quarters. Finally, toward evening, the 
Invincible abandoned the struggle and undertook to enter the har- 
bor; but in the attempt she also ran aground. The crew were 
saved, but during the night the vessel went to pieces. 1 

On May 23, 1838, President Houston approved a joint resolu- 
tion authorizing the secretary of the treasury to pay to the officers 
and crew of the Invincible one-half of the proceeds of the prizes 
made by said vessel in her last cruise, which had been legally con- 
demned. 2 This is the last official notice relative to the Invincible. 
Some of the officers and crew we shall find aboard other Texan 
vessels as we pursue our history. The Invincible did a great 
service for Texas, and her name should never be forgotten by 
those who love to give honor where honor is due. 


In the chapter devoted to the purchase of naval vessels a sketch 
was given of the Brutus — her armament, cost, and the officers ap- 
pointed on March 12, 1836, to command her. 3 It was also there 
mentioned that she was intended for the Texan service as early as 

1 The Telegraph and Texas Register, September 2, 1837. 

2 Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 1495. 

3 See The Quarterly, XII, 201-203. At various times the following offi- 
cers served on the Brutus: Captains L. C. Harby, William A. Hurd, and 

James D. Boylan; Lieutenants L. M. Hitchcock, Lacy, John 

Damon, — Hoyt, G. W. Estis, J. G. Hurd, Osky Davis, 

Mossat, Libel Hastings, Dearing and Galligher; Sur- 
geon A. M. Levy; Purser Norman Hurd; Boatswain ■ Brown. 

Henry Riley served as an officer in some capacity, but his rank is un- 
known. Officers of marines were: Captain Arthur Robertson and First 
Lieutenant William Francis. 

This list is compiled from Tennison's Journal, the New Orleans news- 
papers and the Texas Almanac, 1860, p. 165. In the list of the Texas 
Almanac, I. D. Bolan should be J. D. Boylan; I. G. Hurd should be J. G. 
Hurd; and it should 1>p noted that Lieutenant Melius did not servo on 
the Brutus. Brown, II, 127, writes "Boyland," and this is the spelling of 
the name in the Naval Papers of the State Library. 

52 The Brutus. 

December, 1835. She was in the port of Galveston, when the 
Invincible arrived, on April 8, 1836, with her prize, the Pocket. 
She soon left Galveston, and after a short cruise stopped at New 
Orleans, during the trial of the crew of the Invincible. When the 
trial was over, Captains Brown and Hurd boasted that, from that 
time on, they would warn all United States vessels which they 
encountered beyond the jurisdiction of the United States against 
continuing their voyages; and that, if afterwards these vessels 
should be found doing so, they would be seized and condemned. 
As the Texas navy was unable to blockade the various Mexican 
ports and no distinction was made by Brown and Hurd between 
vessels with and without contraband of war, this was an idle and 
useless threat. A. J. Dallas, commanding the United States naval 
force in the Gulf of Mexico, was appealed to to convoy and pro- 
tect American shipping, 1 and he assured the shippers that he 
would do so. This was eminently proper at the time, as no 
blockade of Mexican ports was then in force; but on the 21st of 
July, 1836, President Burnet issued a proclamation 2 from Velasco, 
declaring a blockade of the port of Matamoras, and ordering a 
sufficient number of war vessels to the mouth of the Eio Grande, 
and the Brazos Santiago to enforce the blockade strictly. Not- 
withstanding this effective blockade, which it was important for 
Texas to maintain in order to prevent transports laden with pro- 
visions reaching Matamoras from New Orleans, and transports 
loaded with troops at Matamoras from reaching Texas, Commo- 
dore Dallas, on August 9, 1836, wrote a letter from Pensacola, 3 
stating that he would despatch a war vessel to the mouth of the 
Mississippi to convoy any vessels bound to Matamoras, and that 
he would raise the blockade. This, however, was an actual and 
legal, not a paper, blockade; and hence, in this case at least, Com- 
modore Dallas was in the wrong and merited to the fullest extent 
the criticism directed against him by the Texans and the New 
Orleans press for his arbitrary interference with the struggling 
Eepublic of Texas. 

On May 20, 1836, the Brutus left New Orleans to convoy ves- 

! New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, May 11, 1836. 
^Telegraph and Texas Register, August 16, 1836. 

^he substance of this letter is quoted in the Telegraph and Texas Reg- 
ister, September 6, 1836, from the New Orleans Bulletin, August 13, 1836. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 53 

sels to Galveston. From Galveston she sailed for the Mexican 
coast and soon afterwards was, as has already been related, block- 
aded in the mouth of the Eio Grande by the Mexican brig of war, 
Vencedor del Alamo. 1 From this situation she was relieved in 
July, and soon thereafter was very effectually assisting, in her 
turn, in the blockade of Matamoras, as ordered by the proclama- 
tion of President Burnet. 

The following item relative to the Brutus appears in a New 
Orleans paper the following month : 2 

Extract from the log-book of brig St John, arrived yesterday 
August 3d, in lat. 26 3G, long. 87 25, was boarded by the first 
officer of the Texian armed schr. Brutus, Captain Hurd. The B. 
has been on a cruise for nearly three months, was in want of pro- 
visions — could not supply her with any article except sugar, being 
short. Tlje officer told Captain Parmly, of the St. John, that the 
Brutus had a few days before taken a prize and sent her into 
Galveston — that she had on board $40,000 in specie, and a valuable 
cargo [?] 3 

But a short time later, when the president wished to order a 
descent on Matamoras for the purpose of capturing military stores 
known to be there, he learned that Captain Hurd had, without 
orders, sailed for New York. Hurd's reason for this has never 
been ascertained. 4 While in the port of New York, between Sep- 
tember, 1836, and February, 1837, the Brutus was in danger of 
being sold to defray her expenses; but, through the agency of 
Samuel Swartwout, she was freed from debt at the same time that 
he liberated the Invincible.* In March she sailed for Texas; and 
on the 15th of April, 1837, she again came to anchor in a Texas 
port, but without provisions and with the larger part of her crew 
missing. 6 

The Independence having been recently captured by the Mexi- 
cans, and the officers imprisoned, the Senate and House of Eepre- 
sentatives, on April 29, 1837, passed a resolution instructing the 

'The Quarterly, XII, 195. 
: The Neiv Orleans Bee, August 10, 1836. 

3 The interrogation mark and the brackets belong to the original. 
4 D. G. Burnet, in Texas Almanac, 1861, p. 45. 
'See p. 257 above. 

"Proclamation of Presidenl Houston, May 5, 1837, in Telegraph and 
Texas Register, May 0, 1837. 

54 The Brutus. 

president to send the Brutus and the Invincible to Brazos San- 
tiago to negotiate an exchange of prisoners. On May 31, President 
Houston vetoed the resolution and in a lengthy message pointed 
out that there was nothing to gain and much to lose by sending 
the only two remaining war vessels on such an errand; that the 
prisoners would, on the approach of such vessels, very likely be 
carried to the interior, and treated more harshly; that any kind 
of a neutral or unarmed vessel would be better employed to carry 
such commissioners ; and that, finally, he would veto the resolution, 
if for no other reason, because he considered it an unwarranted 
interference on the part of the legislative department with his con- 
stitutional authority as commander-in-chief of the navy. 1 

In June the Brutus cruised with the Invincible along the Mexi- 
can coast, with the secretary of the navy on board, as has been 
told already. 2 

In a letter describing this cruise to the secretary of the navy, 3 
Captain Boylan says that on July 22 the two vessels captured the 
Mexican schooner TJfoion, and a few days later the Adventure and 
the Telegraph — the former of which was burned, though the latter 
was sent into port for adjudication. On August 12 they captured 
the Correo, on the 17th the Rafaelita, which, as the Correo Mexi- 
cano, had been commanded in 1835 by Lieutenant T. M. Thomp- 
son, and soon afterwards the Abispa. 

In a letter reviewing the cruise of the Brutus and Invincible, the 
secretary of the navy declared that their brilliant exploits were 
attributable to the skill, courage, and determination of the officers 
and crews; and that, if Congress would only extend its fostering 
protection and support to the navy, the names of Geo. W. Wheel- 
right, Henry L. Thompson, and Jas. D. Boylan would "stand 
brightly conspicuous in the pages of our national history." 4 

What followed this hopeful prediction is an illustration of the 
irony of history; Captain Boylan was ordered by the acting secre- 
tary of the navy to superintend the collection of evidence con- 
cerning the charges preferred against Captain Thompson and the 

^ee House Journal, 1st Tex. Cong., 2nd Sess., pp. 84-87. 
2 See above, pp. 258-260. 

3 Boylan to Fisher, September 1, 1837, Navy Papers, Texas State Library. 
4 S. Khoads Fisher to John Birdsall, T. J. Gazley and Others, September 
4, 1837, in Telegraph and Texas Register, September 9, 1837. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 55 

other officers of the Invincible, 1 while the president himself took 
in charge the head of the navy and secured his removal, as ha3 
been shown. In studying the records concerning the trial of these 
officers, one finds it difficult to believe that they were treated with 
justice. The one, without being found guilty, was dismissed from 
service; and what might have been the fortune of the other, but 
for the fact that death prevented his trial, must remain uncertain. 
The Brutus did much to help the Republic of Texas in its in- 
fancy, and they who served aboard her should ever be remembered 
by Texans with that degree of respect and admiration to which the 
heroic pioneers, be their services on sea or land, are entitled. 


In the study of the beginnings of the Texas navy the incidents 
connected with the purchase of the Independence have already 
been recounted. 2 On January 10, 1836, commanded by Captain 
Charles E. Hawkins, 3 she began her first cruise. From New 
Orleans she went to Galveston, and then proceeded along the Mexi- 
can coast, capturing and destroying a considerable number of 
small craft, with all material on board that could be used to the 
injury of Texas. Captain Hawkins, however, always respected the 
private property of the Mexicans. The Independence returned to 
New Orleans to refit, and soon after, March 12, 1836, Hawkins re- 
ceived his commission from the General Convention as captain of 
the Independence. He was senior captain of the Texas navy, and 
President Burnet, with the consent of his cabinet, appointed him 
commodore. 4 The Independence thus became the flagship of the 
fleet. Captain Hawkins was present at th p oeai, ~f government 

1 House Journal, 2d Tex. Cong., 1st and 2d Sessions, 170. 

2 See The Quarterly, XII, 202-203. 

'According to Tennison's Journal, other officers of the Independence 
were: First Lieutenant Galligher, Second Lieutenant James Melius, 

Sailingmaster W. P. Bradburn, Chief Surgeon A. Levy, Purser Leving, 

Midshipmen William A. Tennison, and E. B. Harrington, Boatswain 
Robert Gyles, and Gunner George Marion. There was a crew of forty 
men. The Texas Almanac, I860, p. 165, erroneously makes Galligher a 
Lieutenant on the Brutus. The Purser, Leving, was probably the same 
man as Lieutenant William H. Leving of the Invincible, who was detained 
on board the Bravo, and who was shot bv order of Santa Anna in April, 
1836. See pp. 6-7, above. 

4 See Burnet's Message in Telegraph and Texas Register, October 11, 

56 The Independence. 

when he was commissioned, and at once started for Matagorda to 
join his vessel for a cruise. On the 21st of March, in company 
with Captain William A. Hurd, he passed through San Felipe, and 
the editor of the Telegraph and Texas Register 1 said of them: 

. . . The chivalry and determined character of these gentle- 
men is so well known that we are impatient to have them meet the 
force of the tyrant. Liberty and laurels will then waive over 
tyranny and defeat. 

Arrived at Matagorda, Commodore Hawkins reorganized his 
corps of officers, 2 and March 20th the Independence started on 
her second cruise. 

After destroying a number of small Mexican vessels during the 
earlier part of April, the Independence became engaged with two 
brigs of war, the Urrea and the Bravo, and an unknown schooner, of 
which the two brigs carried together twenty guns, while the Inde- 
pendence carried only eight. Before beginning the engagement, 
Commodore Hawkins asked his men if he should do so and was 
answered with cheers. He then made the attack, but the Mexican 
vessels soon drew off. The Independence then waited, expecting 
them to renew the fight; but they did not, and she sailed to Gal- 
veston, hoping to return with the Invincible and the Brutus and 
to capture the Mexican vessels. 3 The plan, however, was not car- 
ried out. The Texan government, believing that a descent upon 

^ssue of March 24, 1836. 

2 In Tennison's Journal the following changes are noted: George Wheel- 
wright was made Captain, James Melius was promoted to the first lieu- 
tenancy, Frank B. Wright became second lieutenant, and J. W. Taylor, 
third. Thomas Crosby was appointed lieutenant of marines; Joseph 
Hill, an additional lxild^hipman ; William T. Brennan, captain's clerk, 
and J. T. K. Lothrop, supernumerary. All the rest of the officers of the 
first cruise except Lieutenant O Higher were retained for the second. 
But before the vessel sailed Melius \w ordered to the Invincible; Wright, 
Taylor and Lothrop became respectively i>st, second and third lieutenant, 
and Brennan became purser in place of Leving, who resigned. Captain 
Wheelwright was originally assigned with the Liberty, but at this time 
Captain Brown had that vessel off on a cruise. 

3 Tennison's Journal, folios 314-316. Tennison writes two accounts of 
this engagement, and one of them says that Commodore Hawkins was 
disappointed to find that the Brutus and Invinvible had, without his 
orders, gone to New York, which prevented his returning to the attack. 
This would fix the date of the encounter early in August. T have fol- 
lowed the account which is evidently the more accurate and which fixes 
it in April. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 57 

Galveston Island by the Mexicans was to be expected, detained the 
Independence to assist in the fortification of the island. 1 

While the officers and crew of the Independence were anxiously 
on the lookout from day to day, to be ready for the reputed in- 
vasion by sea, the battle of San Jacinto was fought and won by 
Texas on the 21st day of April, 183G. The news was brought to 
Galveston by Robert J. Calder, who had commanded a company 
in the battle, and Benjamin C. Franklin, who was judge of the 
admiralty court of the district of Brazos, but had fought as a 
private at San Jacinto. They made the trip to Galveston in a 
row-boat, and arrived on the 28th. Captain William S. Brown, 
of the Invincible, was the first to hail them with the question, 
''What news?" The account of what followed is taken from the 
historian Thrall, who had it from Calder himself : 2 

"When I told him, his men/' says Calder, "literally lifted us 
on board, and in the midst of the wildest excitement Brown took 
off his hat and gave us three cheers, and threw it as far as he 
could into the bay. He then shouted to his men, 'Turn loose 
Long Tom.' After three discharges, he suddenly stopped and said : 
'Hold on, boys, or old Hawkins (the senior commodore) will put 
me in irons again.' " Declining to wait for anything to eat, they 
were treated to the best liquor on the ship. They entered the 
captain's gig, and with four stalwart seamen started for the harbor. 
The Independence, the flagship of Commodore Hawkins, was 
anchored between them and the landing. As they approached the 
ship, Commodore Hawkins, w r ith his glass, recognized Franklin 
and Calder, and began eagerly hailing for the news. When they 
were sufficiently near to be understood, a scene of excitement en- 
sued beggaring description; and now it spread from vessel to ves- 
sel, reached groups on the land, and the welkin rang with shout 
after shout, until the people were hoarse. Hawkins fired thirteen 
guns. We suppose this was for the old thirteen colonies, as Hawkins 
had been in the U. S. navy. When the Commodore learned 
that they had been fasting for twenty-four hours, he had a sump- 
tuous dinner prepared, and the party did not need much urging 
to stay and partake of the hospitalities of the old salt. They were 
staving a little too long, and finally Hawkins hinted that they 
had better go ashore and report to the President. 

President Burnet, who was a great stickler for official preroga- 
tive, was a little miffed that everybody on the island should have 

l Yoakum, H, 124. 
•Thrall, 519, note. 

58 The Independence. 

heard the glorious news before he was notified of the battle and 
its result ; and when the party reached the President's marquee they 
were received, as C alder says, "with stately courtesy — which at 
first we did not understand, thinking a little more cordiality and 
less formality would have suited the case and the messengers. 
This, however (continues our narrative) gradually subsided, and 
the president, before the interview closed, treated us with that 
grace and genial courtesy for which, throughout life, he was ever 

The president hastened to the battlefield; but having arrived 
there, he thought best to return to the coast. Accordingly, on the 
5th of May he and his Cabinet and General Houston, with Santa 
Anna, Cos, and other Mexican prisoners, took passage on the 
Yellowstone back to Galveston Island. No accommodations being 
found there, Santa Anna was transferred to the Independence; and, 
when President Burnet and the Cabinet came on board, sail was 
made on the 8th for Velasco, at the mouth of the Brazos. Yelasco 
was the great seaport of the Kepublic at that time. Arrived at 
Velasco, President Santa Anna entered into negotiations with his 
captors, which resulted in a treaty; and one of the stipulations 
was that he was to be sent to Vera Cruz to carry it into effect. 
We have already noted how he was taken from the Invincible, 1 
which was to carry him and the commissioners to Vera Cruz. 

Before this occurred, however, the Independence left Velasco for 
New Orleans. It reached that city in seven days, on June 13, 
and, below the Point, announced its arrival by Hawkins' favorite 
salute of thirteen guns. 2 Peter W. Grayson and James Collins- 
worth were on board as passengers. They were clothed with full 
power to negotiate with the United States Government for recog- 
nition of the independence of Texas, and left the next day for 
Washington for that purpose. The Independence cruised thence 
as far as the mouth of the Eio Grande, and for some reason, pos- 
sibly for supplies, returned to New Orleans on August 3, 183 6. 3 
It reported the blockade of Matamoras an effective one, three 
Texan vessels being on guard. 

On the 12th of August, the Independence spoke the schooner 

x See above, p. 256. 

2 The Quarterly, IV, 151, quoting from the New Orleans Commercial 
Bulletin, June 14, 1836. 

•New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, August 4, 1836. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 59 

of war Terrible at the northeast pass of the Mississippi, and in- 
formed that vessel that she was on her way to Matamoras to assist 
the Invincible in the blockade; when she arrived, however, the 
latter had left for New York. With the Invincible and the Brutus 
in New York, and the Liberty detained in New Orleans, Texas 
now found herself in momentary expectation of an invasion with 
only the Independence and four small privateers available for the 
defense of her coast. 1 

Toward the end of the year Commodore Hawkins again sailed 
for New Orleans to refit; and in January, 1837, he died of small- 
pox at Madam Hale's residence on Canal Street. 2 While he was 
only thirty-six years old at the time, he had had a varied experience, 
and had made a favorable impression upon every one with whom 
he came into contact. When a mere youth he entered the United 
States navy as a midshipman and was soon promoted to a lieu- 
tenancy; but, being of a restless disposition, on the outbreak of 
the Mexican Eevolution he resigned his commission and . entered 
the Mexican service with Commodore Porter with the rank of 
post-captain. Off Cuba he did excellent service and became a 
terror to the Spanish shipping. He resigned his position at the 
end of the revolution and in 1834 was a popular captain on the 
Chattahoochee Eiver. In the fall of 1835 he joined Mexia's ill-fated 
expedition as aide-de-camp and after its failure came to Texas. 3 
He presented himself to Governor Smith, and received from him 
the following letter : 4 

Executive Department of Texas. 
To Stephen F. Austin, B. T Archer and Wm H Wharton, Esqrs — 

Agents of the People of Texas to the United States of America. 


This will probably be handed you by Majr Charles E. 
Hawkins, a gentleman whose experience and ability in naval 
affairs would render his services acceptable in any govt — and more 
particularly in ours, which is just emerging from chaos. The 
zeal and patriotism with which Majr Hawkins has espoused our 
cause entitles him to the highest commendation. He has identified 

'House Journal, 1st Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., 07. 
2 Tennison's Journal, folio 314. 

3 Tclegraph and Texas Register, September 8, 1838; Yoakum, II, 39. 
•Smith to Archer, Wharton, and Austin, December 20, 1835, in Austin 

50 The Independence. 

himself with us by taking the oath and performing the necessary 
requisites to become a citizen. I confidently hope that you will 
properly appreciate the worth and abilities of Majr Hawkins and 
assign him such duties in fitting out our Navy as his experience 
and abilities will warrant and also, such a command in it as his 
zeal patriotism and your better judgments may direct. I am 

Your obt servant 


San Filipe de Austin, Dec 20, 1835 

The commission appointed him to the command of the Inde- 
pendence. Soon afterward he was appointed commodore by Presi- 
dent Burnet; and, holding that distinguished title at the head of 
a small but successful navy, he died in the discharge of his duty 
and in favor with his countrymen. 

Owing to Commodore Hawkins's death, there were some changes 
in the official staff of the Independence ; and, when she left New 
Orleans on what was destined to be her last cruise, April 10, 1837, 
George Wheelwright was captain, and John W. Taylor, J. T. K. 
Lothrop, Bobert Cassin, and W. P. Bradburn were lieutenants. 1 
A number of passengers were on board, among whom were Col. 
Wm. H. Wharton, minister to the United States, then on his re- 
turn to Texas; Captain Darocher, Dr. Eichard Cochran, and 
George Estis, a lieutenant in the Texas navy. They had smooth 
sailing until the morning of April 17, when the Independence was 
attacked by two Mexican war vessels; and after a running fight 
of four hours she was forced to surrender. 

Texans who saw only the close of the fight, and were not ac- 
quainted with the details, conceived at first that the Independence 
had struck without a blow; and it was not until an official report 
of it was sent from Brazos Santiago by the officer in command, 
and corroborated from other sources, that the Texans would speak 
of the affair. The following sentiments 2 expressed the voice of 
the people before and after the official account arrived: 

^ther officers were Surgeon Levy, Purser Brannon, Lieutenant of 
Marines Thomas Crosby, Midshipmen Wm. A. Tennison, E. B. Harring- 
ton, Joseph Hill, and Whitmore, Boatswain Eobert Gyles, Gunner 

George Marion. 

2 Telegraph and Tex'as Register, June 8. 1837. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. (31 

We rejoice that we are at length enabled to furnish the official 
account of the capture of the Independence. We have hitherto 
forborne offering any comment upon the former vague accounts of 
this transaction, as we felt confident that many important facts 
had been overlooked which would completely exculpate our gallant 
tars from any disparaging imputation. We confess that when the 
first news of this combat arrived, containing the intellegence that 
the Independence had surrendered to two Mexican brigs without 
having received any injury, and her crew unhurt, a flash of shame 
and indignation mantled on our cheeks and the exclamation, "30 
or 40 cowards and an old hulk are no loss," almost involuntarily 
fell from our lips; better w r e thought it would have been if this 
crew dauntlessly nailing this unsullied flag to the masthead, hurl- 
ing their mortal defiance to the groveling foe — had fought on, and 
on, shouting the stern war cry of "victory or death," until the 
star of Texas, like the "star of day," went down in glory beneath 
the blood red billows, where foaming crests were singing to the 
last exulting cry of an unconquered band of freemen. 

But the following statements have fully convinced us that we 
did injustice to these gallant tars, in harboring even for a moment 
a thought so unworthy of them and of the Texian name. 

Far from blaming them for this surrender, we rejoice that they 
may yet be preserved to ride through the battle storm which shall 
rend the tyrant banner from the mast it disgraces. This desperate 
and protracted conflict will long hold a prominent place in the 
annals of Texas, and like the fall of the Alamo, it shall inspire 
our children with ennobling sentiments. No flush of shame shall 
redden their youthful cheeks as they read the page which declares 
that thirty-one Texians six only of these seamen, in a slow sail- 
ing armed schooner, mounting only six sixes and one long nine 
fought four hours and a half, two Mexican armed brigs, one 
mounting "16 medium eighteens" wdth a crew of 140 men; the 
other mounting "8 brass 12 pounders" and one long eighteen mid- 
ship, with a crew of 120 men ! One is astonished in reflecting that 
this little vessel was not annihilated by the first broadside from 
her powerful opponents, her dauntless little crew appear to have 
been preserved almost bv a miracle, and it is cheering to reflect 
that their heroic conduct has furnished new proofs that our na- 
tional escutcheon yet remains bright and untarnished. True, the 
flag of our country has once been struck on the stormy billows 
of the Gulf, but like the Eoman eagle stooping before the sword 
of Epirus, it has wrung from the abashed conquerer the bitter 
confession, "Such men are invincible." 

The official report 1 of the battle, written by Lieutenant J. W. 
^Telegraph and Texas Register, Juno R, 1S37. 

62 The Independence. 

Taylor, who succeeded Captain Wheelwright in command after 
the latter was wounded, is as follows : 

Brazos de St Iago April 21st 1837 
To the Honorable S Khoads Fisher, Secretary of the Navy 

Sir — I have the honor hereby to transmit yon an account of 
the late engagement between our government vessel Independence 
and two of the enemy's brigs of war, one the Libertador of sixteen 
eighteen pounders, 140 men; the other, the Vincedor del Alamo, 
mounting six twelve-pounders, and a long eighteen amidships, 
with one hundred men. Captain Wheelright having during the 
action received a very dangerous wound, the duty of sending this 
melancholy communication has devolved upon me, towit: 

On the morning of the 17th, in latitude 29 deg. N., longitude 
95 deg. 20 min. W., at 5 h. 30 m A. M. discovered two sail about 
6 miles to windward; immediately beat to quarters; upon making 
us out they bore down for us with all sail set, signalized, and 
then spoke each other. At 9 h. 30 m., the Yincedor del Alamo bore 
away, getting in our wake to rake us, the Libertador keeping well 
on our weather quarter, we immediately hoisted our colors at the 
peak. The enemy in a few minutes hoisting theirs, the Libertador 
on our weather quarter edging down for us all the time, till within 
about one mile, gave us a broadside, without wounding any of our 
men or doing other damage ; the fire was at the same time returned 
from our weather battery, consisting of three sixes and the pivot, 
a long nine, the wind blowing fresh, and from our extreme low- 
ness our lee guns were continually under water, and even the 
weather ones occasionally dipped their muzzles quite under. The 
firing on both sides w r as thus briskly kept up for nearly two hours, 
the raking shots from the Vincedor in our wake nearly all passing 
over our heads, as yet sustaining but trifling injury ; at 9 h. 30 m. 
the Libertador on our weather quarter, bore away and run down 
till within two cables length of us, luffed and gave us a broad- 
side of round shot, grape and canister, while all this time the brig 
Vincedor in our wake continued her raking fire. Notwithstand- 
ing this we still continued on our course for Velasco, maintaining 
a hot action for full 15 minutes, with some effect upon her sails 
and rigging. The Libertador now hauled her wind, widening her 
distance, apparently wishing to be further from us, when she 
again opened her fire, which was on our part kept up without 
cessation. At 11 A. M. she again bore away, run down close to 
our quarter and gave us another broadside of round shot, grape 
and canister, which told plainly on our sails and rigging; as be- 
fore she again hauled her wind to her former position, and played 
us briskly with round shot, one of which struck our hull, going 
through our copper and buried itself in her side. At 11 h. 30 m. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 53 

A. M. a round shot passed through our quarter gallery, against 
which Captain Wheelright was leaning, inflicted a severe wound on 
his right side, knocked the speaking trumpet out of his hand, ter- 
ribly lacerating three of his fingers; he was conveyed below to the 
surgeon, leaving orders with me to continue the action. We still 
held on our course in our respective positions, keeping up an in- 
cessant fire, for full half hour, when the enemy signalized; then 
the Vincedor in our wake luffed up and gained well on our weather 
quarter; at that time the Libertador, on our weather beam bore 
away and ran down under our stern within pistol shot, our decks 
being completely exposed to her whole broadside, and at the same 
time open to the raking fire of the Vincedor on our weather quar- 
ter. In this situation, further resistance being utterly fruitless, 
and our attempts to beach the vessel ineffectual, I received orders, 
from Captain Wheelright to surrender, which was done. 

The only damage done to our vessel, was that of parting some 
of our rigging, splitting the sails, a round shot in her hull, and 
the quarter gallery, which was shot away. Captain Wheelright 
was the only person wounded on board. We shot away the Liber- 
tador s main top-gallant mast, unshipped one of her gun carriages, 
took a chip off the after part of the foremast, killed two men, and 
cut her sails and rigging severely. We were immediately boarded 
by capt Davis of the Libertador, who pledged his honor, and 
that of Commodore Lopez, who was then on board, that we should 
receive honorable treatment as prisoners of war, as officers and 
gentlemen, and as soon as an exchange could be effected, we should 
be sent home. The kind attention and courtesy we have received 
from Commodore Lopez, Captain Davis and officers has been truly 
great for which we tender them our sincere thanks, likewise Cap- 
tain Thompson of the schooner of war Bravo has extended every 
civility and kindness. We leave this place tomorrow for Mata- 
moras : what disposition will be made of us I know not. 

Besides the officers and crew of our vessel, we had on board as 
passengers, the honorable Wm. H. Wharton, Mr. Levy, Surgeon 
T. N"., captain Darocher, T. A., 1 Mr. Thayer, of Boston, Mr. 
Wooster, English subject, George Etess, acting lieutenant T. N. 
and Mr. Henry Childs. 

I remain very respectfully, your obedient servent, 

J. W. Taylor, Lieut. 

[P. S.] Our crew consisted of 31 men and boys, besides the 
officers; out of this number there were six seamen, the balance 
not knowing one part of the ship from the other, and it was with 
great difficulty that we obtained this crew wdiile in New Orleans. 

'Intended for N. 

Q4 The Independence. 

Tennison's Journal mentions one incident connected with, the 
surrender, not referred to in the official account. He says that 
upon Davis's demand to surrender Taylor said to him: "Sir, I 
am your prisoner, but my sword you shall never receive/' so he 
threw it overboard. 1 

The surrender took place within plain view of Velasco, and the 
whole town, including the secretary of the navy, S. Khoads Fisher, 
turned out to see the struggle. Their criticism of the government, 
for not keeping its vessels well manned and provisioned to guard 
the Texas coast, instead of leaving them in New Orleans for 
months trying to get outfitted, was the spur which impelled Fisher 
to give the matter his entire attention, and to take passage on the 
Invincible a few weeks after this, in order to give the Mexicans 
battle. His efforts, and their results have been noticed in the 
history of these two vessels. 

The Independence and the prisoners were carried to Brazos San- 
tiago by the victorious vessels. 2 The Mexican papers state that 
the Independence was bravely defended before she was taken. 
Their notices of the capture include also the information that one 
of her guns was an eight pounder, lost by the Mexicans some time 
since at San Jacinto. It was considered by the Texans one of 
their chief trophies, and bore the initials of many of the principal 
ladies of Texas. The principal officers of the Independence re- 
ceived the kindest of treatment through the special orders of Pres- 
ident Bustamente. For the first three months of their imprison- 
ment the crew were treated rather harshly, but after that they 
had no complaints to make. For many favors the officers and 
crew felt especially grateful to the president, to Commodore 
Lopez, and to Captains Martinez, Davis, and Thomas Thompson. 
Through the instrumentality of Captain Thompson, Captain 
Wheelwright and Dr. Levy, with the consent of all the officers of 
the Independence, made their escape early in July, 3 Captain 
Thompson accompanying them, and leaving the Mexican service 
to join the Texas navy. 4 After arriving in Texas, Thompson was 

tennison's Journal, folio 316, p. 3. 

2 Gazeta de Tampico, April 29. 1837; Mercuric- de Matamoros, April 21, 

3 New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, July 12, 1837. 
4 See Telegraph and Texas Register, July 8, 1837. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 65 

appointed post-captain at Galveston, where Alex. Thompson, the 
chief hydrographer for Texas, had selected a suitable site for a 
navy yard 1 for the Republic. The interest that the Texan Congress 
took in the release of the prisoners, and President Houston's atti- 
tude toward the effort have already been noticed. 2 In his message 
of November 21, 1837, 3 Houston recites the unsuccessful attempt 
of the government, through the agency of John A. Wharton, to 
secure an exchange; but consoles himself with the fact that some 
of the prisoners escaped and that President Bustamente set the 
others free in October. Before learning of their release, Congress, 
spurred on by Houston, passed a joint resolution authorizing re- 
prisals upon Mexico; but this was withdrawn upon their arrival 
at Galveston, November 4. 

On December 14, 1837, Congress appropriated $250,000 for 
back pay of officers, soldiers, and sailors, and a joint resolution of 
December 18 authorized the auditor to settle with Thomas Bren- 
nan, purser of the Independence, the claims of the officers and crew 
of that vessel. 4 

There was one other vessel connected w r ith the Texan naval es- 
tablishment. Her mission seems to have been a peaceful one. 
This was the receiving vessel Potomac. She was purchased from 
Captain L. M. Hitchcock, 5 formerly a lieutenant on the Invincible, 
for $8000. Later, by recommendation of the secretary of the 
navy, she became a pilot boat at Galveston. 

Here ends the history of the first navy of Texas. As early as 
1836, however, the Republic of Texas was anxious to have a 
stronger navy, and Congress passed favorably on measures for 
procuring a new and stronger fleet, composed principally of steam 
vessels. The account of this movement, the acquisition of the 
vessels, and their history, is distinctly separate from that of the 
first navy of the Republic, and it will be given next. 

Gurnet issued a decree on April 21, 1836, establishing a naval depot 
at Galveston Island. See Texas Almanac, 1860, p. 57. 
2 See pp, 263-264, above. 

3 Telegraph and Texas Register, November 25, 1S37. 
'Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 1308, 1300. 
8 See House Journal, 3d Tex. Cong.. 18. 

6(3 Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 


The vessels of the first navy were lost through captures, wrecks, 
and other misfortunes. But Texas, possessing as she did such an 
extensive sea-board, could not expect to be regarded as a nation 
unless she had a navy strong enough to protect her coast and 
harbors. Emigrants would hesitate to risk their all in a voyage 
to a country not prepared to protect them if attacked en route. 
Trading vessels would be slow to bring those commodities to her 
shores which would be necessary for the comfort of the people. 
Exportation would likewise be dangerous. Shipowners would dread 
capture and loss of their vessels, with possible imprisonment in 
a Mexican dungeon. Excessive insurance would raise the price 
of all commodities to the point where the bare necessities of life 
would become luxuries. But, with proper protection, immigra- 
tion would soon fill up the land; and the increased imports and 
exports, as the country became settled, would bring a revenue in 
the way of customs duties that would eventually pay for the 
maintenance of a navy. These considerations alone would justify 
the expenditure of a considerable sum by Texas; and when, in 
addition, it is remembered that Mexico had in no wise relinquished 
her intention of reconquering Texas, and would sooner or later 
attack her by land and by sea, the reader can understand why it 
was necessary for Texas to secure and maintain at any cost a 
navy strong enough to make Mexico fear and respect her, and to 
impress foreign nations with the stability of her government. 

All this had been clearly perceived since the first session of the 
first congress of the Eepublic. On October 26, 1836, the Com- 
mittee on Naval Affairs recommended "the immediate building or 
purchase" of one twenty-four gun sloop, a ten gun steam vessel, 
and two schooners of eleven guns each. The total cost of the 
four vessels was to be $135,000. x An act was passed in conformity 
with these resolutions, authorizing the President to appoint an 
agent to proceed immediately to the United States, to purchase, 
or contract for and superintend the building of, the desired vessels. 
It was approved by President Houston November 18, 1836. This 
increase in the navy was planned while Texas was still in pos- 

1 House Journal, 1st Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., 97-98; Gammel, Laws of Texas, 
I, 1090; Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 54. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 57 

session of several war vessels; but long before any of the vessels 
of the new navy reached the Texan shores, the last of the old navy, 
excepting the Potomac, had disappeared. Owing to the youth of 
the Republic, and the uncertainty of her future, sufficient money 
could not be borrowed to carry out the act; and it therefore re- 
mained ineffective. 

The second congress found it imperative to act. The Inde- 
pendence had been captured by the Mexicans, and the Invincible 
wrecked, leaving the Brutus and the Potomac sole defenders of 
six hundred miles of coast. AVilliam M. Shepherd, acting secre- 
tary of the navy, in his report of September 30, 1837, x begs earn- 
estly for the expenditure of a few thousand dollars to prevent 
Mexico's gaining supremacy of the Gulf. Some two weeks later 
the Brutus was wrecked, and the Committee on Naval Affairs 
thereupon framed the following resolutions, and submitted them 
to the Senate for action : 2 

Resolved that the Senate and the house of representatives of 
the Republic of Texas in congress assembled proceed to Elect by 
joint ballot an agent whose duty it shall be to repair immediately 
to Baltimore or some other seaport town of the United States of 
the north for the purpose of buying or building arming and equip- 
ping for the public service of the Republic of Texas one corvette 
of 18.24 medium, 2-10 Gun Briggs mounting medium 18 pound- 
ers — and two substantial schooners . . . provided the cost of 
said vessels shall not exceed $250,000 which said amount is hereby 
appropriated out of any unappropriated money now in, or that 
hereafter may be in the treasury. . . . 

The resolution was amended to authorize the purchase of a five 
hundred ton ship mounting eighteen guns, two three hundred ton 
brigs of twelve guns each, and three schooners of one hundred 
and thirty tons, mounting five or seven guns each; to appropriate 
two hundred and eighty thousand dollars for the purpose; to in- 
struct the secretary of the treasury to furnish said agent with a 
draft for the above appropriated sum on Messrs. Gilmer and 
Burnley, the "commissioners to negotiate a five million loan": 3 
and to pledge solemnly the public faith for the payment of this 

'House Journal, 2nd Texas Con^., 1st and 2nd Sessions, 100-172. 
'Archives of tlio Department of State, file No. 704. 
3 Gammel, Laws of Texas, IX, 1355-1356. 

gg Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 

amount. It became a law with the President's approval on Novem- 
ber 4, 1837. 1 

To carry out the provisions of this act, President Houston ap- 
pointed Peter W. Grayson agent, Grayson had represented Texas 
as commissioner to the United States in 1836, when the country 
was seeking recognition, and his appointment for the present task 
was considered a wise one. At about this time, however, he be- 
came candidate for the presidency of Texas, and during the cam- 
paign committed suicide in a fit of despondency at Bean's Station, 
Tennessee. John A. Wharton was anxious to succeed him, but 
President Houston appointed Samuel M. Williams. 2 Williams at 
once executed his bond, and departed for Baltimore, to enter ac- 
tively into the labors of procuring a navy for Texas. 

In order to meet immediate needs, an effort was made to buy the 
steam ship Pulaski; and Congress authorized her purchase at an 
agreed price; 3 but the transaction failed through the refusal of 
the owners to deliver her at Galveston, on the ground that 
our ports were declared by the enemy to be under blockade, 
and that the blockade was reported to be effective. Be- 
fore any agreement could be arrived at she was destroyed. The 
Potomac, therefore, was the only vessel that was in the service of 
Texas during 1838. And for a long time it remained doubtful 
whether or not the government would become the owner of this 
vessel. The secretary of the navy at a critical hour had bought 
it on his own responsibility from Captain L. M. Hitchcock for 
eight thousand dollars and had almost completed its conversion 
into a brig of war, when all further work on it was suspended 

^ammel, Laws of Texas, I, 1355-1356; Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 70. 

-Report of Secretary of Navy in House Journal, 3d Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., 
15-20. The following amusing reason is given for the president's refusal 
to appoint John A. Wharton. He had previously appointed William H. 
Wharton minister to the United States to secure the recognition of Texan 
independence. It is related that Wharton was not pleased with the ap- 
pointment, and remarked that the president was sending him into honorable 
exile to get him out of some one else's way. Houston did not hear of this 
until some months later, when John A. Wharton applied for the agency. 
Meeting William H. Wharton after his return from the United States, the 
president could not refrain from delivering a home thrust. "I did not 
appoint John A. Wharton naval commissioner," he said, "because I did not 
wish to drive any more of the Wharton family into exile." — Linn, Rem- 
iniscences of Fifty Years in Texas, 273. 

3 Gammel, Laws of Texas, I. 1392. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 69 

because congress had made no provision for its purchase. This, 
however, was due to a want of funds, and not to a belief in con- 
gress that the vessel was not needed. The secretary of the navy 
in his report of October 30, 1838, put the matter before the presi- 
dent, and urged him to find some means for completing the trans- 
action. 1 The Potomac seems to have been finally acquired by the 
government, though no record of the transfer can be found. 
The secretary of the navy two years later says: 2 

In consequence of the leaky condition of the brig Potomac, for- 
merly the receiving ship, she has had everything removed from 
her; placed securely in the yard, and her crew transferred to the 
Wharton. It has since been discovered, and prevented as far as 
it was deemed necessary, to keep her from sinking. This vessel 
is new and has been for a long while, perfectly useless to the Gov- 
ernment for any purpose whatever, and, as an application has been 
made by the Commander of the station to transfer her to the pilot 
of Galveston, with a view of making a light boat of her, upon 
such terms as he believes would be beneficial to the public interest, 
I advise this measure, believing it will not interfere with the best 
interests of the navy, and that it will be of great advantage to 
our growing commerce. 

Not another word we can find concerning her, except in the 
Tennison Papers, in the original order of A. C. Hinton command- 
ing the naval station at Galveston, and addressed to William A. 
Tennison, midshipman, on board the Potomac at Galveston, order- 
ing him to report to Lieutenant William S. Williamson on board 
the brig of war Brazos, for duty. 3 This is the only time the brig 
of war Brazos is mentioned officially or otherwise. Where she came 
from, or what became of her, no existing documents relate. Under 
another name, she may have played some part in Texas history. 
That there was such a vessel in the navy in 1842, there is no 
question, as the document mentioning it is original and genuine. 

For the sake of economy, the president ordered the secretary 
of the navy to disband the officers and men of the navy until ves- 
sels could be procured for them. Only enough were retained to 

l Hou8e Journal, 3d Tex. Cong., 18; Yoakum, IT, 242. 
2 Report of November 4, 1840, in House Journal, 5th Tex. Con^., 1st Sess., 
Appendix, 1 85-101;. 
'Hintoh to Tennison, an undated autograph letter signed. 

70 Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 

man the Potomac and the naval station at Galveston. 1 This act, 
while a hardship on the officers and men, was proper under the 
circumstances, and proved quite a saving to the government; as 
it was some time before the men were needed. 

Fate was very kind to Texas at this time, when she had no 
navy and was seemingly at the mercy of her enemy. The French 
government, having certain claims against Mexico, which Mexico 
declined to satisfy, assembled a considerable naval force at Vera 
Cruz and declared the Mexican ports blockaded. Shortly after the 
inauguration of the new , president of Texas, M. B. Lamar, on 
December 9, 1838, Texas was gratified with the intelligence of the 
capture of Vera Cruz. The blockade of the French having failed 
to bring the government to terms, Admiral Baudin despatched a 
messenger to General Eincon, the Mexican commandant, inform- 
ing him that he was about to attack the castle of San Juan 
d'Ulloa. This fortress, situated on an island in the harbor of Vera 
Cruz, was defended by one hundred and sixty pieces of artillery 
and some five thousand men. The bombardment commenced about 
two o'clock, in the afternoon of the 27th of November, and was 
so well directed that in four hours, after a loss of six hundred 
men in killed and wounded, the Mexicans capitulated and marched 
out of the castle, and the French took possession. The Mexican 
government thereupon despatched Santa Anna with five thousand 
men to drive the French out of the place. In attempting this, he 
lost his leg, and many of his troops were killed and wounded. On 
March 9, 1839, a treaty was made between Mexico and France, 
which was shortly afterwards ratified, and the French forces left 
the territory of the Republic. 2 

On his way home Admiral Baudin, with a part of the fleet, 
visited Texas. He was given a grand welcome to Galveston and 
to Texas. The mayor and aldermen of Galveston delivered the 
keys of the city to him, and Admiral Baudin, in a written response, 
declared that he was glad to have contributed by his work in 
Mexico to such a cause as the independence of the Texian nation. 
He said 

1 Report of Secretary of Navy, October 30, 1838, in House Journal, 3d Tex. 
Cong., 1st Sess., 15-16. 

2 Yoakum, II, 242, 253, 255. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 71 

.... I hope it will prove, too, beneficial to the several nations, 
who, either as friends or as foes, have to deal with Mexico. Noth- 
ing could be more gratifying to my feelings than to he considered 
as one of you, gentlemen, whose industry and energy I do so much 
admire. Be assured that I would vastly prefer being the humblest 
member of a well regulated and thriving community, like yours, 
than to moving in the sphere of wealth and power in a corrupt 
and decaying society. With the highest regard and respect, I have 
the honor to be, Gentlemen, 

Your affectionate and devoted Serv't, CHARLES BAUDIN. 1 

To understand fully the gratitude of the people we must re- 
member that, but for the opportune interference of the French, the 
whole coast of Texas would have been at the mercy of any fleet, 
however small, that Mexico might have sent against it. Can it be 
wondered at that Galveston and all Texas felt that France had 
helped to fight the battles of the Bepublic ? 

While Texas was thus enjoying a respite through the involun- 
tary assistance of France, Mr. Williams, in Baltimore, was doing 
all in his power to obtain proper vessels for the navy. Owing to 
the fact that the loan was not effected with which to purchase the 
fleet, he was much discouraged. On October 9, 1838, he wrote 
from Philadelphia, 2 that the only prospect at that time was to buy 
the steam packet Charleston, which had been built eighteen months 
before at a cost of $117,000. She could be had for $120,000, 
payable in five years with ten per cent interest, and could be so 
altered as to make her an available naval ship. On November 3, 
1848, General Hamilton, who was the regularly appointed consul 
for the Republic of Texas, in Charleston, addressed a lengthy com- 
munication to the secretary of the navy, 3 in regard to the pur- 
chase of this vessel. He said that while in England he had had 
the good fortune to induce his friend James Holford, Esq., of 
London, to advance the money necessary for her purchase and 
outfit; but Hamilton said: 

As Mr. Holford is not a citizen, the title had to be taken for 
the boat in my name, and so it will continue until she gets out 

'Baudin to Mayor and Aldermen of Galveston, May 13, 1839, in an un- 
identified newspaper clipping. 
-lions,' Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 212. 
'Ibid.. 214-216: 

72 Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 

to Texas, and a regular transfer is made of her to your Govern- 
ment. ... As Mr. Holford has acted with the utmost liberality 
and confidence, I trust your Government will have passed, in 
secret session forthwith, a resolution confirming Messrs. Burnley 
and Williams' contract with me, as the agent of this gentleman. 1 

Agreeable to this request, an act was passed sanctioning the 
contract for the Charleston, afterwards known as the Zavala, for 
the price of $1 20,000. 2 This vessel was, therefore, the first one 
of the new navy. Its final cost, as later altered and equipped, was 
much beyond the original contract price. But in this, as in other 
matters, the financial records of the navy are so tangled and 
obscure as to render details impossible. It would be alike tedious 
and unprofitable to attempt to unravel them. Indeed, the secre- 
tary of the navy, in 1840, confessed the task too heavy for him- 
self 3 

Soon after the Zavala had been arranged for, Mr. Williams was 
successful in concluding a contract, on November 13, 1838, with 
Frederick Dawson, of Baltimore, for one ship, two brigs, and three 
schooners to be fully armed, furnished with provisions and muni- 
tions, and delivered in the port of Galveston. 4 For this it was 
agreed that, 

the bonds of the Government of Texas, made and executed by 
the Commissioners for the Loan, shall be executed and signed and 
deposited in the Bank of the United States of Pennsylvania, or 
the Girard Bank at Philadelphia, ... for five hundred and 
sixty thousand dollars, there to remain ... as security 
. . . for the space of twelve calendar months, which bonds are 
to bear ... a rate of interest of ten per cent per annum, 
. . . which bonds can be redeemed at the end of twelve months, 

Hamilton to Secretary of Navy, November 3, 1838, in House Journal, 5th 
Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 214-216. 

-Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 93. 

Secretary of the Navy, Report of November 4, 1840, in House Journal, 
5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 187; see also Gouge, Fiscal History of 
Texas, 93, 94, 198-199, 206, 305. 

4 For the contract with Dawson see House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st 
Sess., Appendix, 202-204. See also Yoakum, II, 243 ; Gouge, Fiscal History 
of Texas, 94; and Eeport of Special Committee to the Senate, January 22, 
1854. Dawson turned his interest over to S. Chott and Whitney; these two 
gentlemen, in a lengthy letter addressed to the government of Texas, Octo- 
ber 9, 1851, complained bitterly of the effort made to scale the bonds, and 
their arguments seem unanswerable. See Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 73 

by the payment of the two hundred and eighty thousand dollars, 
and the ten per cent which shall have accrued ... in Gold 
or Silver. ... If the Government of Texas shall prefer to 
instruct the Loan Commissioners to issue, or shall itself issue 
sterling bonds for the sum of five hundred and twenty thousand 
dollars at any time prior to the first day of February next, he will 
receive them in full liquidation, and payment of the debt hereby 
contracted, and in lieu of the bonds heretofore mentioned. 

On receiving the intelligence that the navy had been contracted 
for, the Texas government, on January 26, passed an act which 
declared that, whereas the agent of the Republic had made a con- 
tract for the purchase of one ship of eighteen guns, two brigs of 
twelve guns each, and three schooners of six guns each, and, 

whereas it has become indispensably necessary, in order to prepare 
and keep in service the said vessels, as well for the protection of 
the coasts and harbors of Texas, as for the protection of the com- 
merce thereof, that an appropriation be made of the sum required 
for that object. Wherefore, be it enacted, . . . That the sum 
of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, in the promissory notes 
of the Government be, and the sum is hereby appropriated for the 
naval service for the year 1839. . . . x 

The navy thus contracted for, including the Zavala, and the ap- 
propriation just mentioned, cost the Texan government more than 
$800,000. 2 

Mr. Williams, having now accomplished the task he had been 
entrusted with, returned to Texas. That his services were appre- 
ciated by his countrymen, we note in a resolution offered in con- 
gress 3 tendering him a resolution of thanks "for the energy which 
he has rendered in procuring a navy." It will be recalled that 
while he was connected with the firm of McKinney and Williams 
he had been largely instrumental in securing the first navy of 
Texas. His talent lay in his ability to finance such matters, and 
later in life we see him the first banker of Texas. He knew noth- 

'Oammol, Laws of Texas, II, 120-130. Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas. 03, 
and Bancroft, II, 317, say that this appropriation of $250,000 was made to 
pay for the ships contracted for; they are of course, mistaken, as the 
language of the act is clear. 

^Secretary of the navy, Report of November S, 1830, cited in Yoakum. 
II. 272; Bancroft, II, 351. 

a 8e)uii< Journal, 3d Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., 72. The resolution was dated 
December 14, 1838. 

74 Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 

ing of naval construction, and the republic now needed a man at 
Baltimore to see that the contract was carried out according to 
specifications. A man in every respect qualified for this important 
service was found in John G. Tod, who had resigned a commission 
in the United States navy to connect himself with the young re- 
public. 1 Before entering upon the work, he had, at the request of 
the secretary of the navy, drawn up a report upon the establish- 
ment of a navy yard, and in April, 1838, had been vested with 
powers to examine into and report on all matters connected with 
the naval interests. On June 10, 1838, he was ordered to the 
United States by President Houston upon that mission. He fitted 
out the steamer Charleston and returned with her to Galveston, 
in March, 1839, where her name and flag were changed, and she 

^ohn G. Tod was born in Kentucky. Leaving Lexington when seventeen 
years of age, he proceeded down the Mississippi on a flatboat to New 
Orleans, and enlisted in the Mexican Navy as a midshipman, under Admiral 
Mina. Two years later, through the influence of Henry Clay, he was ap- 
pointed a midshipman in the United States navy, and transferred to that 
service in which he rose to more important grades. — C. W. Raines, Year 
Book of Texas, 1901, p. 402. 

Mr. Tod entered the Texas navy in 1837, and, as the following letter 
(copied from a facsimile of the original) indicates, apparently had some 
difficulty in convincing the secretary of the navy of his merits: 

Houston, May 25, 1837. 
Hon. W. G. Hill. 

Sir, — I take the liberty of laying the enclosed letters before you as a 
further introduction to your friendly enfluence in my behalf. 

They will show you how I stand in civil life with men of eminance in the 
United States — who are not likely to confer their friendship or esteem 
upon any man except for his individual worth as a gentleman; more espe- 
cially, when the difference of rank betwen us as public men is taken into 

The Hon. James Harlan is from Kentucky and has known me from my 
earliest years. Commodores Barron and Bolton are at the head of the 
Navy. Maj. Graham is a distinguished officer of the U. S. Army. The first 
clause of his letter will inform vou how I stand with my acquaintances in 
the U. S. Navy. 

I regret that the present state of affairs should make it necessary for me 
(to succeed in my object) to trouble you and other gentlemen upon a sub- 
ject that the Hon. Secretary of the Navy alone appears to view in rather 
an indifferent light. If I obtain my commission, it will be my pride to do 
my duty in every situation that my country places me. My greatest honor 
to prove myself worthy of the interest shown by my friends. My glory in 
defending the rights and advancing the liberties of our common country. 
Very respectfully, 
I have the honor to be, Sir, vour ob. Servt, 

Jno. G. Tod 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 75 

was commissioned as the Zavala} In accordance with the Dawson 
contract, on June 27, 1839, the schooner San Jacinto was deliv- 
ered; on August 7, the schooner San Antonio; on August 31, the 
schooner San Bernard; and, on October 18, the brig Colorado. 2 
A corvette and a brig were yet wanting to complete the contract, 
but they were confidently expected by the end of the year. 3 They 
were in fact delivered, one in January, and the other in April, 
1840. The following account appeared in a current newspaper: 4 

Texian Navy. — The following list of vessels constitute the pres- 
ent naval force of Texas. As there are a number of officers of 
that service who were officers of our navy, these details may be 
interesting to many of the readers of the Chronicle. 

Steamer Zavalla — An efficient and well appointed vessel. 

Sloop Trinity — 600 tons, carries 20 24 pounders, medium guns. 

p . j Colorado ) 400 tons, carries each 16 18 pounder 

I Galveston j medium guns. 

( San Jacinto ) „„ rt . . w H ^ , 

Schooners \ San Bernard [ 170 tan > e f ch carrying 7 12 pound- 

( San Antone j ers ' and X lon S ei 8' hteen > on a P lvot - 

Brig Potomac — Eeeeiving vessel. 

These vessels, with the exception of the steamer and receiving 
vessel, were built, equipped, and provisioned under the immediate 
superintendence of John G. Tod, Esq., Texan Naval Agent of the 
United States, a gentleman well and favorably known in this coun- 
try, having at an early period in his life held an honorable place in 
our navy. 

The secretary of the navy in his report 5 of 1840 said: 

Mr. Dawson has delivered the brig and the sloop-of-war 
then due ; and everything else appertaining to this contract has been 
complied with in the most generous and liberal manner. The 
brig and sloop-of-war, like all the other vessels, have been con- 
structed on a much more commodious scale than the contract re- 

*As an instance of the carelessness of the historians of Texas it may be 
mentioned that Yoakum (II, 271), Morphia (419), and Brown (II, 128), 
each represents the Charleston and the Zavala as two separate vessels. 
That such an error should have been made by Yoakum, who used the docu- 
ments, is strange: Morphis and Brown, no doubt, followed Yoakum's state- 
ment without consulting the sources. 

-In 1840 the name of the Colorado was changed to the Archer. 

"Secretary of the navy, Report of November S, 1830; Yoakum, IT, 271. 

'An unidentified newspaper clipping, containing matter copied from an 
issue of the Army and Navy Chronicle of date not indicated. 

B In Hoti8t Journal, 5th Tox. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 185-100. 

76 Measures to Procure a Second Navy. 

quired, and have been furnished in a more suitable manner than 
that for which the contractors were obligated. The brig, which 
was the last vessel received on the contract, was delivered at Gal- 
veston with the naval equipments belonging to her, and the other 
vessels, on the 25th April 1840, 1 — the ship on the 5th January 
previous. . . . 

This officer 2 is entitled to great credit for the management and 
system shown in his operations. His attention to the complicated 
duties entrusted to him in the United States, as well as his con- 
duct in direct connection with this Department, has always been 
faithful and laborious, and meets my cordial approbation. 

Captain Tod wrote a very appreciative letter of thanks to Daw- 
son, 3 which received a suitable reply. Captain Tod said in part : 

The last vessel included in the contract entered into by yourself 
on one part, and the Republic of Texas of the other part, having 
received from me the certificate approving of the same, I feel it 
a duty as well as a pleasure to express to you the satisfaction I 
have in testifying to the very creditable and liberal manner in 
which the contract has been fulfilled on your part. 

I will not indulge in any useless expressions of my opinion of 
these vessels, they speak for themselves, and many persons of 
acknowledged judgment in naval architecture, have pronounced 
them equal to any that have ever sailed from this port, in beauty 
of model, strength and duribility of materials and finished speci- 
mens of workmanship. . . . 

John G. Tod, 
Naval Agent of Texas to the U. S. 

On the return of Captain Tod to Galveston, June 3, 1840, he 
was invited to partake of a public dinner tendered him by the 
citizens of Galveston at the Tremont House. The committee on 
invitation were M. B. Menard, P. J. Menard, James Love, Levi 
Jones, and Thomas F. McKinney. From this he excused himself 
on the plea of pressing business, but thanked them for their ap- 
preciation of his services, declaring that, 

The greatest happiness a public servant has in this life, is the 
satisfaction of feeling that he has been faithful and conscientious 
in the discharge of such duties as may have been entrusted to him. 

ir These two vessels were the Austin and the Wharton. The latter had 
formerly been the Dolphin. 

2 Captain John G. Tod. 

s Tod to Dawson, March 19, 1840, in House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st 
Sess., Appendix, 199. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 77 

If this pleasure can be enhanced, it is by the assurance that his 
humble efforts in behalf of his country's interest meet the appro- 
bation of his fellow citizens. 1 

Captain Tod's last letter as naval agent, among other matters, 
highly compliments "H. H. Williams, our consul in Baltimore, 
to whom was entrusted the purchase of our supplies under my 
direction," and acknowledges at the same time his indebtedness 
to Commodores Barron and Warrington, of the United States 
navy, and to Francis Grice, naval constructor of the Norfolk dock- 
yards, "for much useful information imparted to me by these gen- 
tlemen." 2 

On June 24, 1840, Captain Tod was placed in command of the 
naval station at Galveston. 


By the end of April, 1840, the make-up of the second navy was 
completed. It consisted of the Potomac, Zavala, Austin, Wharton, 
Archer, San Bernard, San Jacinto, and San Antonio. The Zavala, 
formerly the Charleston, was named for Lorenzo de Zavala; the 
Austin, for Stephen F. Austin; the Wharton, formerly the Dolphin, 
for the Wharton brothers, — William H. and John A.; — and the 
Archer, formerly the Colorado, for Dr. Branch T. Archer. Besides 
these vessels references are found to the Trinity/ the Galveston,* 
the Houston, 5 the Merchant, 6 the Texas, 7 the Asp, 8 and the Brazos. 
The first two were apparently a part of the Dawson contract, and 
doubtless became incorporated in the fleet under changed names; 
the Houston seems to have been a Yucatan auxiliary, temporarily 

Tod to Galveston Gentlemen, Juen 4, 1840, in Tennison's Journal. 

'House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 198. 

3 An unidentified newspaper clipping, with matter copied from an issue of 
the Army and Navy Chronicle of date not indicated. 

4 Ibid. 

''Jones, Republic of Texas, 104. 

'Moore, To the People of Texas, 80. 

'Journal of Midshipman James L. M'abry in Galveston News, January 0, 
16, 23, 1893. This Journal, together with the Ledger and Ration Book of 
the Texas Navy are the property of Mrs. R. W. Shaw, of Galveston, daughter 
of Captain James G. Efurd, formerly first lieutenant of the Brutus, and 
granddaughter of Captain Norman Hurd, purser in the Texas navy. 

s Ibid. 

78 Early Troubles of the New Navy. 

acting with the Texans; and the Merchant was the private prop- 
erty of E. W. Moore. Of the other vessels mentioned nothing 
further is known. 

This brings us to the personnel of the new navy, and we will 
now introduce the officers, renewing old acquaintances and form- 
ing new ones. The man that stands out pre-eminently for his in- 
dividuality, as well as high position in the navy, is Commodore 
Edwin Ward Moore. Born in June, 1810, at Alexandria, Virginia, 
where he received his education, he entered the United States navy 
as a midshipman, at the age of fourteen, and remained in the 
service for nearly fifteen years. 1 In a letter written in 1904, 
George E. Fuller, one of his midshipmen in the Texas navy, speaks 
of him as about 5 feet 8 inches in height, of fair complexion, blue 
eyes, light brown hair, and stocky build. He was genial, pleasant, 
and universally liked; a thorough seaman and a splendid officer. 2 
In 1839 the prospect of an adventurous and active career in the 
Texas navy caused him to resign his commission as lieutenant on 
the United States sloop Boston, 2, and offer his services to Texas. 
He was appointed post-captain and was generally addressed by the 
title of Commodore, both by the public and by the secretary of 
the navy in his official communications. He had command of the 
entire Texas navy from the beginning of his service. Strange, 
however, as it may seem, no commission was issued to him, or the 
officers under him, until three years after they had entered the 
Texan service. In a letter to the secretary of war and marine 
July 5, 1842, he complained of this in the following terms: 

I beg leave also to call the attention of the Department to the 
fact that not an officer in the Navy has a commission, a circum- 
stance unprecedented in the annals of history, that a Government 
should have for three years, their vessels of war on the high seas, 
visiting foreign ports, and capturing the enemy's vessels, without 
a commission even in the possession of the commander of the Navy. 4 

This letter seems to have had the effect that Commodore Moore 
desired, for two weeks later he received his commission, as did 

x Till July 16, 1839. Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 1084; 
Moore, To the People of Texas, 10. 

2 Fuller to Dienst, October 27, 1904, in Dienst Col. Docs. 

•Thrall, 592. 

"Moore to Hockley, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 79. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 79 

also the officers serving under him. These commissions were con- 
firmed by the senate on July 20, 1842. Commodore Moore's com- 
mission entitled him, 'Tost Captain Commanding/ 5 and was ante- 
dated April 21, 1839, some time before his resignation from the 
United States navy. 

The first difficulty encountered by the new navy was to obtain 
sufficient sailors and marines to man the ships. 1 For this purpose 
the San Antonio was, in November, 1839, at New Orleans, on re- 
cruiting service. 2 At the same time the secretary of the navy or- 
dered the Zavala to New Orleans for refitting. Captain A. C. 
Hinton of the Zavala was instructed not to allow his expenditure 
to exceed $9000, including $3200 for the enlistment of sailors and 
marines. 3 He went, however, considerably beyond the modest 
limit set by the department, incurred a severe reprimand therefor 
from the secretary, and was ordered to return to Galveston. The 
reproof administered to him was in part as follows: 

You appear to have forgotten the very first principle of naval 
discipline, to wit: that the first duty of an officer, as well as a 
seaman, consists in obeying orders. If you have so far transcended 
yours, as to purchase anything for which you can not show definite 
orders, be assured that you will be held responsible; and you fur- 
thermore are strictly forbidden from incurring, under any pre- 
text whatever, any liabilities against the Government for repairs. 
. . . You will . . . return as soon as possible to Galveston, and 
report immediately to this Department. 4 

In reporting the matter to President Lamar the secretary used 
a different tone. He said that, though Hinton had exceeeded his 
allowance by nearly twelve thousand dollars, yet 

on the return of the Zavala to Galveston, her natural efficiency 
was found to be very much increased, and I have no hesitation in 

Hn regard to the proceedings of the United States government against 
Moore himself on the charge of illegal recruiting activity in New York 
Harhor in the winter of 1839-40, see Deposition of Hunter. Decemher 30, 
1839; Forsyth to Dunlap, January 15, 1840; Dunlap to Forsyth, January 
10, 1840 — all in Annual Report American Historical Association for 1907, 
Volume IT. — Editor Quarterly. 

*Moore to Hinton, House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st. Sess., Appendix, 

'House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 221-222. 

4 Cooko to Hinton, December 21, 1839, in House Journal. 5th Tex. Cong., 
1st Sess., Appendix, 238-239. 

80 Early Troubles of the New Navy. 

saying, that the unauthorized repairs were essentially needed, and 
they would have been suggested by the proper authority, except 
for the consciousness of inability to pay for them. 1 

The President considered the breach of discipline as serious 
enough to warrant the withdrawal of Hinton's commission. Hin- 
ton appealed to congress, and a joint resolution was passed, 2 order- 
ing the secretary of the navy to organize a court-martial for the 
trial of Hinton, and declaring that in future no officer should be 
deprived of his commission except by sentence of such a court. 
The verdict of the court-martial was favorable to Hinton, and 
congress passed another joint resolution acquitting him "of any 
act of misconduct reflecting upon him as an officer or gentleman 
whilst a commander in the Navy of this Republic." 3 

The Zavala,, on her return to Galveston, had brought a consid- 
erable number of men to complete the equipment of the other ves- 
sels. For a while it seemed as if this act, and all the cost of pro- 
visioning and officering the new navy were to be in vain. The law- 
makers of Texas, in the mood of retrenching and economizing, 
were about to sacrifice an outlay of one million dollars, in order 
to save a few thousands. Without warning, or ascribing any cause 
for its action, congress passed a law which was approved on Feb- 
ruary 5, 1840, requiring the president to retire from the service 
temporarily all the fleet except such schooners as were needed for 
revenue purposes, and to retain only a sufficient number of officers 
and men to carry out the provisions of the act. Section 4, how- 
ever, provided that, "should Mexico make any hostile demonstra- 
tions upon the Gulf, the President may order any number of ves- 
sels into active service, that he may deem necessary for the public 
security." 4 

That the President was not in sympathy with this act can be 
clearly seen in reading his message of November, 1840. He prob- 
ably acquiesced in it with the intention of availing himself of the 
discretionary power conferred by Section 4. At any rate, he did 

Secretary of the navy, Report of November 4, 1840, House Journal, 5th 
Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 185-196. 

2 Gammel, Laws of Texas, II, 609. 

^he resolution was approved January 29, 1842. It does not appear in 
Gammel's Laws, but the enrolled copy of the original may be found in the 
Records of the State Department (Texas). 

4 Gammel, Laivs of Texas, II, 364. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 81 

not execute the act, and concerning his reasons for not doing so, 
spoke as follows: 1 

The act of the last session of congress providing for the laying 
up in ordinary the principal portion of the naval forces of the 
country, has not been carried into effect. Before the necessary 
preparations could be made for doing so, circumstances transpired, 
which in the opinion of the executive, involved potentially the 
contingency contemplated in the fourth section of that act, and 
induced him to defer the withdrawal of our gallant hag from the 
gulf. It was confidently asserted in the papers of the United 
States, and as confidently believed here, that the Mexican govern- 
ment had made a contract in Europe for the purchase of several 
vessels of war, and that she had actually procured an armed steam 
ship from a commercial house in England, with a view of making 
a descent upon the coast of Texas, and of cutting off our com- 
merce with foreign nations; and during the prevalence of that 
opinion, the executive would have been violating the evident in- 
tention and spirit of the act of congress, instead of carrying it 
into effect, had he caused the seamen already in the service to be 
disbanded, and the vessels to be laid up in ordinary. Other events, 
also, occurred about the same time, and conspired with these con- 
siderations to dissuade me from dismantling a navy which had 
been equipped at a great expense, and which was manned and 
officered in a style of gallantry and efficiency inferior to none 
other of similar magnitude. Yucatan and Tabasco, lately forming 
a part of the confederate states of Mexico, wearied of the oppres- 
sions that followed the overthrow of the federal system in that 
republic, seceded from the central government, and uniting to- 
gether pronounced their determination to be free. Similarity of 
circumstances and design naturally creates a sympathy of feeling, 
and would prompt this government to regard with peculiar in- 
terest the efforts of the citizens of the southern provinces to do 
precisely what we had so recently accomplished. But considera- 
tions of a higher character suggested the propriety of making a 
demonstration of our naval power on the coast of the new republic. 
It was expected to ascertain from the authorities established there 
in what relation this government should regard them, and whether 
their secession from Mexico would terminate their belligerent con- 
dition towards Texas. ... It was considered advisable to 
communicate to the authorities our friendly dispositions, and to 
convey them with such a palpable exhibition of our power as would 
render them efficacious and permanent; and I am gratified to re- 
mark that these professions were readily and kindly received, and 
cordially reciprocated by the new government. 

'Soo House Journal. 5th Tex. Conor., 1st So**., 20-22. 

82 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 18J/0-1841. 

Under these various circumstances, I have considered it my 
duty to keep the Navy at sea for a short period. But I was con- 
strained by a sense of justice and regard to the sacred faith of 
the country to abstain from making captures of Mexican property, 
while our accredited agents were engaged in Mexico in a nego- 
tiation for peace with that Government. The naval equipments 
of a country, and especially of this country, are essentially dif- 
ferent to the facility of organization from the military power. 
Competent officers and soldiers to constitute an army, may at any 
time be selected from the body of the population, but seamen and 
efficient naval officers are not to be found among a rural people, 
they belong to the element on which they serve, and are nurtured 
only on the ocean waves. To have disbanded the accomplished 
and gallant officers who have embarked in our naval service, at 
the moment when we had reason to believe our enemy was pre- 
paring a naval armament for our coast, would, in the opinion of 
the executive, have not only been indiscreet and impolitic, but 
would, as he believes, have been contrary to the true intention and 
meaning of congress, as expressed in the act of the last session. 
It is true it might have saved us some expenditure, but it is 
equally true, that it might have involved the country in great 
disaster, and an irreparable loss of reputation. 

The information afforded by this message is sufficient warrant 
for its lengthy quotation. We see that the navy was not laid up 
in ordinary, 1 and that the officers and men were not disbanded. 
On the contrary, soon after the new fleet was ready for service it 
was permitted to have a trial. 


In June the Texas fleet sailed for Mexico. For this movement 
quite a number of different causes have been alleged. According 
to President Lamar, the object of the expedition was to impress 
Yucatan with the strength of Texas, and thus establish diplomatic 
relations with this revolting state. According to Commodore 
Moore, it was the proclamation of the Mexican president, declaring 
Texan ports in a state of blockade. And, according to the secre- 

x Eugene C. Barker, in University of Texas Record, V, 155, says: "Six 
months after Lamar assumed the reins of government the delivery of these 
naval vssels began, but the financial straits of the young republic made it 
necessary to place them temporarily in ordinary. For this needful act of 
economy he was blamed." That the vessels were not placed in ordinary 
this message shows; although, of course, the act approved by Lamar implied 
that it would be done. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 83 

tary of the navy, it was because of a threatened invasion of Texas 
by Mexico, and the termination of the diplomatic mission of the 
agent of Texas, Mr. Treat. While it is peculiar to see these 
officials disagreeing as to the chief motive for such an expedition, 
it is most likely that all the causes they mention contributed to 
the movement For some seven months the naval establishment 
had been getting ready for such an expedition; and, while the act 
of congress had paralyzed the movement for a short time, it was 
only momentarily checked. With the consent and encouragement 
of President Lamar, the outfitting continued. The most formid- 
able fleet Texas ever possessed left Galveston harbor on June 24, 
1840, with Commodore E. W. Moore in command. 

The fleet consisted of the Austin, carrying twenty guns, the flag- 
ship of Commodore Moore; the steamship Zavala, carrying eight 
guns ; and the schooners, San Bernard, San Jacinto, and San An- 
tonio, each carrying five guns. 1 The Brig Wharton commanded by 

L The lists of officers of the various ships follow: the Austin, E. P. Ken- 
nedy, first lieutenant; D. H. Crisp, second lieutenant; J. H. Baker, third 
lieutenant; William Seegar, fourth lieutenant; C. Cummings, acting mas- 
ter; J. B. Gardiner, surgeon; Norman Hurd, purser; T. W. Sweet, lieu- 
tenant of marines; C. A. Christman, C. Leay, C. B. Snow, George F. Fuller, 
M. H. Dearborne, L. E. Bennett, J. C. Bronough, E. A. Wezman, W. W. 
McFarlane, R. H. Clements, midshipmen; John W. Brown, boatswain; 
John Salter, gunner; William Smith, carpenter; C. Cremer, sailmaker: 
the Zavala, J. T. K. Lothrop, captain; George Henderson, first lieutenant; 
W. C. Brashear, second lieutenant; Daniel Lloyd, master; T. P. Ander- 
son, surgeon; W. T. Maury, purser; J. W. C. Parker, captain of marines; 
G. Beatty, chief engineer; R. Bache, captain's clerk; C. Betts, C. C. Cox, 
J. E. Barrow, H. (S). Garlick, J. A. Hartman, midshipmen; James Crout, 
boatswain; T. Howard, gunner; Joseph Auld, carpenter: the San Bernard, 
W. S. Williamson, lieutenant commanding; George W. Estes, first lieu- 
tenant; W. A. Tennison, second lieutenant (Ben C. Stuart, in (rah>eston 
News, October 8, 1800, has G. C. Bunner, second lieutenant, and W. A. 
Tennison, as acting master); Charles B. Snow, R. M. Clarke, surgeons; 
J. F. Stephens, purser; W. H. Brewster, captain's clerk; C. B. Underbill, 
John P. Stoneall, J. B. F. Bernard, L. H. Smith, midshipmen; George 
Brown, boatswain: the San Jacinto, W. R. Postell, lieutenant commanding; 
J. O. Shau^hnessey, first lieutenant; A. G. Gray, second lieutenant; Wil- 
liam Oliver, acting master; Fletcher Dorey, surgeon; Robert Oliver, 
purser: J. J. Tucker, captain's clerk; C. S. Arcamble, A. Walker, J. 0. 
Parker, midshipmen: the San Antonio, Alex Moore, lieutenant command- 
ing; Thomas Wood, Junior, first lieutenant: A. J. Lewis, second lieuten- 
ant; A. A. Waite, acting master; James W. Moore, purser; Hugh A. 
Goldborou<zh, captain's clerk; James H. Wheeler, E. F. Wells, L. M. Minor, 
midshipmen ; Hugh Schofield, boatswain. 

The muster rolls here given are from the Tennison Papers (folio 352, 
pp. 1-3). They are the only complete rolls T have been able to secure. Yet 
Tennison'* rolls cannot be depended upon as absolutely accurate. For other 
!i~f- aee Ben C. Stuart in Galveston Neics, October 8, 1800. 

84 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 181^0-18^1. 

George Wheelwright, the Archer commanded by J. Clark, and the 
Potomac were left at Galveston. This was done, partly for the 
reason that they were not in condition to sail with the squadron, 
and partly because they were needed to protect Galveston in case 
Mexican vessels threatened the city or the coast. 1 

The itinerary and incidents of this cruise can be most briefly 
and clearly given by citing extracts of the report of Commodore 
E. W. Moore to the secretary of the navy: 2 

Texas Sloop-of-war Austin, 
At Sea, August 28th, 181+0. 
Latitude 25° 21' N. : Longitude 96° 29' W. 
Sir: . . . 22d July . . . I order [ed] the Zavala to mak e 
the best of her way to the Arcos 3 Islands, touching at Sisal, under 
English colors, and to leave a letter for Gen. Anaya from Gen. 
Canales. 4 On the 26th July, the weather still very light, in conse- 
quence of which, and my unexpected detention off the S. W. Pass, I 
thought it best to send a vessel off Point Mariandrea with the 
letters No. 1 and 2 for Richard Packenham, Esq., 5 her Britannic 
Majesty's Minister to Mexico; and that I might, in conformity 
of my orders of 20th June, endeavor to ascertain the feelings of 
the authorities of the State of Yucatan towards our Government, 6 
and be off the Brazos de Santiago as near the time mentioned in 
the same orders as possible, I sent the schooner San Jacinto with 

Alex Moore and James W. Moore, mentioned above, were a cousin and a 
brother of Commodore E. W. Moore. See Moore, To the People of Texas, 
70-72, 110. 

1 The ships and officers mentioned in Brown's History of Texas, II, 198, 
footnote (copied in full without credit being given from Texas Almanac, 
1860, pp. 165-166), have nothing whatever to do with this squadron, though, 
to the general reader, it would appear from the language used that they 
belonged to the Texas navy in 1840. Thrall, 306, note, says that the 
Dolphin (Wharton) sailed. There is, however, abundant evidence to the 

2 Moore to Cooke, House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 232- 
237. Moore's orders dated June 20, 1840, were sealed, and were to be opened 
at sea. On or about this date, the schooners San Jacinto, San Antonio, and 
San Bernard, sailed "for the west." The Zavala and the Austin Avere to 
have gone to sea on the 23d, but were detained by unfavorable weather. 
Thev sailed on June 27, 1840. See Telegraph and Texas Register, July 1, 

3 Arcas. 

4 Anaya and Canales were both leaders of the Mexican Federalists. 

^Pakenham assisted Treat in presenting his proposition, and acted as 
mediator. — Bancroft, History of Texas, II, 340. 

6 This goes to show that president Lamar was correct in his statement of 
the object of the expedition. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 85 

the letters, and availing myself of the usual trade winds, proceeded 
with the San Bernard in company to Sisal, off which place I ar- 
rived on the 31st July, and, on making signal for a boat, wearing 
American colors, was boarded by an ollicer, and learned that the 
Zavala had passed six days before; he informed me that an order 
had been received that day from Merida (the Capitol,) by the 
captain of the Tort, who had sent him out, that, if any Texian 
vessel appeared off the port, to offer her every facility, — upon 
which 1 hoisted our proper colors. ... as soon as he left, 
tilled away for Campeachy, where 1 was informed Gen. Anaya 
was. Arrived off Campeachy on the 2d August, and, while stand- 
ing in under our own colors, we were met about eight miles from 
the land by a schooner of war, having on board Gen. Anaya and 
suite, who came on board. 

On being informed by the General that he had not received the 
letter sent by the Zavala, and being no longer in doubt as to the 
disposition of the authorities, from their trusting a vessel of war, 
mounting five guns, along-side of this vessel and the San Bernard, 
and, knowing that the letter was of importance, as it had been 
written by Gen. Canales, after frequent interviews with his Ex- 
cellency the President, I sent the San Bernard back to Sisal, with 
Gen. Anaya's secretary on board for it, and anchored. Gen. 
Anaya remained on board until after dark, and showed me letters 
from Galveston written sixteen or eighteen days before I left 
there . . . the next day ... I had an interview with 
the Governor elect, Don Santiago Mendez. . . . He was 
anxious that the most friendly relations should be established at 
an early period, and assured me that the ports of the State of 
Yucatan were open to any Texian vessel. . . . 

I left orders for the San Bernard to remain at Campeachy on 
her return from Sisal, until the 13th inst. . . . 

On the 6th instant I received a letter from Gen. Anaya, 
. . . and the next day sailed for Point Mariandrea. On ar- 
riving off the Arcos 1 Islands on the 10th, I found the Zavala, 

I . . . the next day . . . sailed for Campeachy 
. . . where I arrived and anchored on the 13th inst., . . . 

The naval force of the State of Yucatan consists of one small 
brig and two schooners. . . . 

On the 14th the San Bernard arrived from Sisal, and the next 
morning we got under way; and the following morning, by 7 
o'clock, were off the Arcos Islands; sent the San Barnard in to 
put Lieut. A. J. Lewis on board the Zavala, he having broken his 
leg some days previous by falling from the trunk of the schooner 

86 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 181+0-18J+1. 

while giving an order and looking aloft, . . . and pushed on 
to meet the San Jacinto. 

Arrived off point Mariandrea on the 18th; on the 19th, fell in 
with the San Bernard, and on the 20th ? with the San Jacinto, 
when 1 was informed by Lieut. Postell that he had arrived oft' 
the point on the 1st inst. ... I have since met with . . . 
Her Britannic (Majesty's brig Penguin, on her way from Vera Cruz 
to Tampico, and 1 was informed by her that it had been reported 
at Vera Cruz that there was a pirate off that part of the coast, and 
the brig was looking out for her. The officer appeared much 
pleased with the bold manner in which Lieut. Postell stood down 
for him, and I take this occasion to state to the Department that 
he is much the most efficient officer I have under my command. 

On the 23d, not having fallen in with either the San Antonio 
or brig Wharton 1 which vessels I had ordered to meet me off 
Point Mariandrea, ... I determined to stand down off Vera 
Cruz, under American colors, and board the first vessel that came 
out, in hopes of hearing whether Mr. Treat had left Mexico or 
not, and at the same time have a look at their shipping. That 
afternoon I was within three miles of the castle of Juan de 
Ulloa; stood off all night, and the next day, in the afternoon, an 
English brig came out; the wind being light, did not get near her 
until the next morning, when she sent her boat alongside with 
a letter from Mr. Treat, enclosing one to his Excellency the Presi- 
dent, and two to the Hon. A. S. Lipscomb, Secretary of State. 

The brig was Her Majesty's brig Penguin, and I learned from 
the officer who came on board from her, that the Centralists had 
no vessel of war at Vera Cruz; that the sloop-of-war Iguala was 
expected soon from France, that they were about purchasing a 
French ship there, lying in the harbor, and that the steamer 
Agyle was in the employment of the Mexican Government. . . , 

. . . I thought it best to leave the San Bernard 
under the orders of which the enclosed is a copy; and in order 
that the letters which I had in my possession from the City of 
Mexico might reach their destination as early as possible, I made 
sail immediately, the San Jacinto in Company, for Galveston; and 
by the time we get in the latitude of the Brazos de Santiago, I will 
have finished my letters, when I will send the schooner on with 
them, and proceed myself to the Brazos, off which place I will 
not remain more than four days, (unless I meet additional orders 

x The Wharton, by order of the secretary of the navy, was partly dis- 
mantled and placed in ordinary. This is the reason she did not at this 
time reach the squadron. See Secretary of the Navy, Report of November 4, 
1840, in House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., Appendix, 185-196. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 87 

from the Department,) when I will return with all dispatch off 
Point Mariandrea. 

My not having fallen in with the San Antonio or brig Wharton 
has placed me in a disagreeable situation, as, from the force of 
circumstances, I can only appear off the Brazos with this vessel, 
when I am required by my orders, to appear off that place with 
the whole squadron; besides I am behind the time named, in con- 
sequence of waiting off Point Mariandrea, in the hope of meeting 
the San Antonio, at all events, as there was a probability of the 
Wharton not getting to sea. 

. . . C. S. Nash, ordinary seaman, died on board this vessel 
on the 4th inst, while at Campeachy; his disease was dropsy, and 
he was transferred from the San Bernard on the 28th June, in 
order that he might be more comfortable. The San Jacinto also 
lost one man, who had been sick some time and was very old. 

The Zavala has fully realized my expectations as a sea steamer. 
She left New-Orleans not quite two-thirds filled with coal, having 
about 1700 barrels on board; and she can carry 2700 barrels. The 
coal was of the most inferior kind, the blacksmith on board this 
vessel not being able to get a welding heat on iron with some of it 
we got from here. Filled with good Pittsburgh coal, a good head 
of steam can he kept up on her for thirty-five days; and, in the 
event of active operations on this coast, it will be necessary for 
her to have two thousand barrels of good Pittsburgh coal as soon 
as it can reach here, say about the 25th Sept., or 1st Oct., at 
which time she may be found at the Arcos Islands, the latitude of 
which is 20° 12' N., and the latitude 1 91° 57' W. She adds 
greatly to the efficiency of our force, particularly on the coast of 
Mexico, where there is for so great a portion of the time very 
little wind, unless it is blowing a gale, which seldom lasts long. 

I am, very respectfully, Your obedient servent, 

[Signed] E. W. Moore, 

Captain Commandina. 
To the Hon. Louis P. Cooke, 

Secretary of the Navy, Austin, Texas. 

The following excerpts are taken from the diary of one of the 
midshipmen, and tell many events not mentioned by Commodore 
Moon 1 in his dispatch. 2 At the beginning of September Com- 
modore Moore was at the mouth of the Rio del Norte. 

1 Longitude. 

2 Diarv of midshipman James L. Mabry, in Galveston News, January It! 
and 23, and February 13, 1893. 

88 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 1840-18^1. 

September 19, 1840 : . . . stood in chase of strange ship 
who hoisted Spanish colors, bearing two points on our lee bow. 
At 5:30 strange ship tacked and stood for us. Beat to quarters 
and spoke her. She proved the Spanish corvette Gueriro, 1 mount- 
ing 22 guns. 

October 4, 1840 : From 4 to 6, gales with passing clouds. At 5 
made a vessel with a signal of distress, lying on the reef at the 
north end of the island (Labos 2 ). Sent life boat on shore to in- 
quire if any of the inhabitants could pilot a boat out to her. At 
6 the boat returned, unable to obtain any information or assistance. 
. . . Sent life boat on shore to build a fire as a beacon to the 
vessel in distress. At 9, manned, provisioned and sent life boat 
and second cutter to the relief of the distressed vessel lying on 
the Banquilla reef. The second cutter returned, not being able 
to proceed against a heavy head sea. . . . 

October, 6 1840: ... at 3.30 the life-boat and second 
cutter returned, bringing the remainder of the crew, passengers 
and baggage. 3 

October 17, 1840: At 1,50 standing in for Tampico bar. . . . 

October 18, 1840 : ... at 3.30 a sail hove in sight, stand- 
ing for anchorage. At 4 she came to anchor a short distance ahead 
of us. She proved [to be] the English brig of war Eacer. . . . 

October 21, 1840 : At 2 the second cutter was fired at 3 times 
from the shore and very narrowly escaped destruction, the balls 
striking very close to her. We directed a gun at the fort and 
fired it, but the distance was so great that it did not carry. . . . 

October 23, 1840: At 2,30, Jas. Garrett, second gunner, died 
of the scurvy. . . . 

October 21, 4 1840: . . . S. O. Sawyer fell from the fore 
top gallant yard overboard and was lost, . . . 

November 4, 1840 : At 1 sent first cutter with 228 gallons of 
water, 1 bag of coffee, two bags of flour and ten boxes of vermicelli 
to the schooner San Jacinto, and the launch with two anchors and 
chain. The schooner was ashore, where she had been driven in a 
norther, having parted one of her anchors. At 6, sent the launch 
with the men to the San Jacinto. At 7, sent the first cutter to 
the San Jacinto with 217 gallons of water. The captain left the 
ship. At 7,30 the captain returned. 5 At 10, the first cutter re- 
turned. . . . 

November 21. 1840: ... at 3 the city of Tabasco hove 

2 Lobos. 

3 The wrecked vessel was the Mexican brig, Segunda Fauna. 
4 Either this entry is out of place in the original diary, or it was meant 
for October 24. 
5 See p. 33, below. 

The Navy of the Lie public of Texas. 89 

in sight, at 3.30 came to with larboard anchor. ... 

November 23, 1840: ... at 11.30 General Anaya visited 
the ship. . . . 

December 6 1840: The federal brig-of-war fired a salute of 
twenty-one guns. At 9,40 she . . . hoisted the Texian en- 
sign at the lore and fired a salute of seventeen guns. At 10 we 
answered it. 

December 11, 1840: . . . At 10 the Zavala came alongside 
of us and made fast to us. 

December 13, 1840 : At 6 called all hands to up anchor. Got 
under way and backed down the river with the Zavala. . . . 

December 15, 1840 : At 11,30 boarded and took in tow the 
Mexican schooner Florentine. . . . At 2,30 boarded the Mexi- 
can schooner Elizabeth and brought her to under our stern. 

December 16, 1840 : At 8.30 got under way and cast off the two 
schooners, giving them permission to proceed up the river. At 
5.30 came to anchor off the town of Frenterrea. 1 

December 17, 1840 : During the night, James Duffries, ordi- 
nary seaman, died of fever. . . . 

December 22, 1840 : at 3 p. m. Samuel Edgerton, commodore's 
steward, died of yellow fever. . . . 

December 25, 1840 : Sent for Dr. Clarke of the San Bernard 
to visit the sick. 

In copying the log of the Austin, Midshipman Mabry had no 
occasion to describe the terrible experience of the Zavala in the 
storm of September 23. The following, from the Tennison Papers, 2 
in brief language gives a vivid idea of the perils of the sailor : 

23d September, ... we went to Arcos where we expected 
to meet the Commodo[re] and obtain a supply of provisions from 
him — but unfortunately he was not there, and after waiting a 
week on half allowance we went to Laguna de Terminas to obtain 
provision. We got enough provisions there by giving draft on the 
Consul in New Orleans (fund being all gone) and we came here! 
to get fuel enough to carry us to Galveston. We arrived off the 
bar of this river too late on the night of the 3d October to com 
in, and towards Morning we had a sever gale, and sea from North 
east, a little the worst many of us had even seen — how the old 
Zavala stood it bravely, and after losing our rudder, best anchor 
and cable, the main mast throwing the guns and about 400 eigh- 
teen pound shot, and all our grape and cannister overboard, cut- 
ting the salloon, ward room, steerage and berth deck for fuel, we 


2 Tennison's Journals, folio 350, p. 1. For a more detailed description 
of the Zavala in the storm, see Tiie Quarterly, VT, 123. 

90 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 18^0-181+1. 

came in here all well and hearty on the 7th October. The Hull of 
the Vessel and engines being not at all hurt. 

The last notice of the San Antonio that has been found, respect- 
ing this cruise, is a line in the Tennison Papers : "The San An- 
tonio arrived in port 1 Dec. 9, 1840, with the rems 2 of Mr. Treat, 
agent from Texas to Mexico." 3 

Eelative to the doings of the fleet for the next few months the 
information is very meager, but a contemporary newspaper gives 
the following items: 4 

Last from the Fleet. 

By the San Bernard, T. A. Taylor commanding, which came 
into Galveston a few days since, we are in possession of the last 
intelligence from the fleet. A private letter has been shown us, 
dated on board the Zavalla, San Juan Baptista River, Tobasco, 
Dec. 23d, from which we learn that this steam ship is in com- 
plete repair, and ready for service; that the whole fleet will not 
probably come in before March or April. Commodore Moore, on 
board the flag ship Austin, was in the harbor at Tobasco with the 
Zavala, but, in a few days, would proceed to sea, on another cruise. 

The schooner San Jacinto went ashore in a heavy gale, a short 
time before the sailing of the San Bernard. At the time, she was 
anchored off the Areas Islands, but having imprudently ventured 
to sea with but one anchor, she was driven by the gale high upon 
land, a perfect wreck. No lives were lost, and we believe her 
guns were saved. 

It is rumored (on what authority we have not learned,) that 
the Federal authorities 5 in consideration of the services rendered 
by Com. Moore in reducing a small town on the coast, contributed 
$25,000 towards the expenses of the navy during the expedition. 

Gen. Anaya is in command at Tobasco, and his forces are con- 
stantly augmented by the voluntary enlistment of the citizens. 
The most amicable relations exist between them and our naval 

Tennison states that, at the time of the departure of the San 
Barnard from Tobasco, it was the intention of the Zavala, with 
the Austin in tow, to proceed to Laguna for a sufficient supply of 


2 Remains. 

2 Tennison's Journal, folio 352, p. 3. 

^Telegraph and Texas Register, January 13, 1841. 

5 That is, Mexican Federal authorities. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 91 

fuel, and thence to Galveston. The Austin, leaving the Zavala 
after crossing the bar, was to proceed to the Arcos Islands, and 
thence to Galveston. Under date of February 10, 1841, Tennison 
further states that the Austin, on the cruise referred to above, 
boarded a small schooner, bound for Vera Cruz, having on board 
the Federal General Lemus, prisoner of the Centralists. By or- 
ders of Commodore Moore he was released, and was landed at 
Campeachy. Soon afterwards he was placed in a responsible posi- 
tion by the new government of Yucatan. On March 18, according 
to Tennison, the San Bernard returned to Galveston. She had 
touched at Vera Cruz, where her appearance was by no means wel- 
come to the natives. Eight boats, with about seventy men each, 
had prepared to attack this single schooner manned by a crew of 
only twenty. The timely interference, however, of the British 
sloop Comus prevented trouble. On this trip the San Bernard had 
lost her foremast, and was forced to stop at the Arcos Islands for 
repairs. The Zavala was at Laguna on March 1, since her sup- 
plies of fuel and provisions had not arrived from New Orleans. 1 
The following extract gives a glimpse of her at some later time: 2 

The steamship Zavala arrived yesterday in five days from Yuca- 
tan. She had on board $8460 in specie, having received ten thou- 
sand dollars in payment of services rendered by our Navy in the 
taking of Tobasco, the balance being expended in the payment of 
debts contracted there. 

At Yucatan everything was quiet. No standing army to make 
subordinate the civil authorities to the military, as in many parts 
of Mexico. All kinds of religious worship was tolerated there. 

Arista has joined Canales; but had no designs against Texas. 
He seems determined to overthrow the existing government. 

We are assured by a passenger on board the Zavala that the 
Navy could, if permitted to make captures, not only defray its 
own expenses, but support the government. 3 

^ennison's Journal, folio 354, p. 1 ; folio 372, pp. 1-2. 

2 Avstin City Gazette, April 21, 1841, quoting from the Galveston Morning 
Herald. No copy of the latter paper is known to the writer, and no mention 
of it is made in bibliographies of Texas or Louisiana newspapers. 

3 The reader will recall Lamar's statement that the officers of the Texas 
navy were not expected to make captures while the Texas agent was in 
Mexico negotiating for the recognition of Texan independence, because 
Lamar considered that such a policy would be dishonorable. Mexico, in 
this instance, se<>?ns to have outwitted Texas in diplomacy. She kept the 
Texas agents in Mexico in suspense as to her final decision until her vessels 
arrived from abroad, no doubt having been informed by the Texas agents. 

92 Cruise of the Texas Fleet, 18^0-18^1. 

Under date of July 3, 1841, Tennison states that on that day 
the San Bernard arrived, presumably at Galveston, with Judge 
Webb on board. He says that Mexico had refused to treat with 
or to receive Webb as an agent to procure the acknowledgment of 
the independence of Texas. 1 

Of the Tabasco affair, Commodore Moore has the following 
to say: 2 

. . . went up the river Tabasco, captured that place . . . 
levied a contribution of $25,000 with which supplies were obtained 
from New Orleans to enable the squadron to keep at sea upwards 
of ten months . . . and there by kept the Mexican Navy from 
appearing off the coast of Texas to enforce the blockade. . . . 

We remained in quiet possession of the town of Tobasco for 
twenty-one days and had no shot fired at us as we were leaving. 
During this cruise one Mexican schooner was captured within five 
miles of Vera Cruz, sent to Galveston, condemned and sold for 
seven thousand dollars. 

An item of interest in connection with the capture of Tabasco 
is given by Midshipman C. C. Cox in his reminiscences : 3 

But we had no fight. The enemy evacuated the town before we 
reached it — and after one night's stay we again dropped down the 
River — but a good many bags of silver were taken on Board our 
vessel at Tobasco and a portion at least of the same was distrib- 
uted among the officers and men of the fleet as prize money. I 
think eight dollars was the share I got. 

April, 1841, saw the return of the Texan vessels to Galveston, 
and the Yucatan expedition of 1840-1841 was closed. This expe- 
dition is in history frequently confounded with later expeditions 
to Yucatan. 4 Historians also allude to an alliance between Yuca- 
tan and Texas in 1840, but this alliance was not consummated in 

that, as a means of getting their proposals considered, Texas war vessels 
were under instructions not to molest Mexican commerce until their agency 

ir rennison's Journal, folio 372, p. 3. 

2 Moore, Reply to the Pamphlet by Commodores Buchanan, Dupont, and 
Magruder, etc., 19. 

3 The Quarterly, VI, 124. He is in error as regards "one night's stay." 
His illness at the time explains the error. 

4 Brown, II, 198; Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas, 306. Thrall states 
"They were placed in the service of the revolutionary government of Yuca- 
tan," and "sailed 24th of June, 1840." See also University of Texas Rec- 
ord, V, 155, and Moore's To the People of Texas, 36. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 93 

fact until 1841. The taking of Tabasco was the result of an im- 
promptu arrangement between Moore and the officials of Yucatan ; 
the official alliance between Yucatan and Texas, concluded in 
1841, was one entered into by the civil authorities of both coun- 
tries, the conditions of which were specified in a document en- 
trusted to commissioners. In this respect it differed from the 
arrangements of 1840, which were made verbal and consequently 
could be easily broken at the caprice of either party, or upon 
explicit directions to the commodore commanding the Texas fleet 
disapproving of his actions. 

Soon after Commodore Moore's return to Texas he was again 
sent to sea for the purpose of surveying the coast of Texas. In- 
creasing maritime interests rendered this survey very necessary. 
He briefly describes this labor in a publication directed to the 
United States naval officials: 1 

From May to November, 1841, the vessels were overhauled and 
the coast of Texas surveyed by Captain Moore, with, the aid of 
schooners of the Texas Navy; a chart for the entire coast was 
made by him and published in New York by E. and G. W. Blunt, 
and in England by the admiralty. It is the only correct chart 
now in use by navigators . . . one of the officers whose name 
is attached to the published remonstrance to the honorable house 
of representatives has been in service on the gulf since it was 
published in 1842; he has doubtless had occasion to use it, and I 
can with confidence call on him to attest its accuracy. 

The following item concerning the survey is from the Telegraph 
and Texas Register: 2 * 

The schooner of War, San Antonio, left Galveston on the 4th 
inst. for the Sabine Pass, having Com. E. W. Moore and several 
officers on board, for the purpose of commencing the survey of the 
coast. Col. G. W. Hockley, was a passenger on board. We are 
glad to find this important work commenced. The officers of our 
Navy can not at this season be employed to better advantage than 
in tli is survey. 

They were actively engaged in the discharge of these labors until 
their recall in October by President Lamar on account of the 

'Moore. Reply io the Pamphlet by Commodores Buchanan, Dupont, and 
Magruder, o<o., 10. 
•July 14, 1841. 

94 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

alliance entered into between Yucatan and Texas, which we shall 
consider in the next chapter. 


The idea of forming an offensive and defensive alliance on the 
part of Texas and Yucatan against Mexico, was, no doubt, 
discussed between the Texas commanders and Yucatan offi- 
cials, while the Texas navy was in Yucatan; and doubt- 
less, on the return of the officers from their cruise, the 
sentiments expressed by these officials, were imparted to 
President Lamar. According to Senator Sam. Houston, 1 the 
first overtures looking to an alliance were made by President 
Lamar. Houston says: 

It was in the month of July of that year 2 that the Texas navy 
was subsidized to Yucatan, an integral part of the Eepublic of 
Mexico. The then President of Texas, Mr. Lamar, made a com- 
munication to the Governor of Yucatan, proposing to confederate 
with him to render aid, and to receive reciprocal aid from him. 
In conformity to the invitation originating with the President of 
Texas, a Minister arrived from the Government of Yucatan, then 
in a revolutionary state against Mexico, with proposals to obtain 
the navy of Texas, for the purpose of conducting a war against 
the central Government of Mexico. On the 17th of September, I 
think, the proposition was submitted by Mr. Badraza, 3 and ac- 
cepted through the Secretary of State by the President of Texas. 
By the 18th the matter was consummated, and directions given 
to the navy of Texas immediately to sail, and co-operate in the 
defense of Yucatan against Mexico; or, in other words to aid and 
assist in the rebellion. This was done without any authority or 
sanction of the Congress or Senate of the Eepublic of Texas. It 
was a mere act of grace or will on the part of the President. 

Col. Peraza arrived at Austin on September 11. On the 16th 
he addressed to Samuel A. Eoberts, Secretary of State, a lengthy 
communication, 4 the main points of which were that Lamar had 
written the government of Yucatan that he was willing to co- 

1 Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 1081; Moore, To the People 
of Texas, 27-29; Rejon, secretary of state of Yucatan, states that Lamar 
did make overtures July 20, 1841. 


3 Col. Martin F. Peraza. 

4 Anonymous translation in Moore's To the People of Texas, 15-17. 

The Navy of the lie public of Texas. 95 

operate against the common enemy; that Yucatan was threatened 
by an invasion from Mexico which its navy was not strong enough 
to resist; that the case was too urgent for Yucatan to wait for the 
assembling of its congress. Peraza then proceeds, "I will there- 
fore merely say to the Honorable Secretary of State that I am 
fully authorized by my Government to contribute to the removal 
of any pecuniary obstacles which might perhaps for the moment 
embarrass that of Texas in putting her vessels in action"; and he 
goes on to say that Yucatan would pay for the purpose of getting 
the squadron of three war vessels to sea eight thousand dollars 
in advance and eight thousand dollars per month, so long as the 
government should deem it necessary for the squadron to remain 
in active service. Any prize made and any revenue of the Mexi- 
can government confiscated by Yucatan and Texas was to be 
divided equally between them after first paying the costs of the 
enterprise. On the next day Col. Peraza received a communica- 
tion 1 from the Secretary of State of Texas, in which he says : 

When therefore you tell us that you have reason to apprehend 
that the same despotism which for a time waged so savage and 
relentless a war against us, is preparing to attack the newly es- 
tablished liberties of your country, we can not hesitate to co- 
operate with you in preparing to repel the premeditated attack 
by sending such a portion of our Naval force to sea as may be 
deemed adequate to the service required of it. 

That this Government may derive incidental advantages from 
sending its Navy to sea, ... is not denied; but that these 
advantages will afford a just equivalent for the heavy expenses of 
keeping our Navy at sea, and for the shock such a ste 2 may give 
to our nation's credit abroad ; and the loss we may thereby suffer ; 
the undersigned apprehends, it is equally unnecessary for him to 
deny. The President therefore in accepting the pecuniary aid 
offered by Yucatan, on the terms proposed in your communication, 
towards the support of the Navy so long as it continues to co- 
operate with that of Yucatan, only discharges a duty towards this 
Government which a rigid and economical expenditure of the 
public money demands. . . . The undersigned has been in- 
structed, taking your propositions as a basis, to state specifically 
the terms upon which the President will feel authorized to afford 
the Government of Yucatan the aid which she demands. 

l Roberts to Peraza, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 17-19. 
2 Step. 

96 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

The stipulations following are four in number, and the same 
as given in Peraza's letter except the second, which reads : "All 
captures made by Texan vessels shall be taken into Texas ports 
for adjudication, and all captures taken by Yucatan vessels shall 
be taken into Yucatan ports for the like purpose." On the same 
day, September 17, 1841, Col. Peraza accepted the Texas propo- 
sitions. In a letter to the secretaary of state he says, 1 being 
conformable to the spirit of my instructions, they are sanc- 
tioned on my part in the name of my government, which 
is pledged to their most punctual and religious observance/' 
In reply to this acceptance by Yucatan, the Secretary of State 
addressed a letter to Col. Peraza 2 in which he says in part : 

the President has this day given orders, in conformity with the 
stipulations and agreements which have been mutually made be- 
tween the two governments, for three or more vessels to pro- 
ceed with as little delay as possible to the port of Sisal, when 
it is expected the Government of Yucatan will furnish the Com- 
mander of the Squadron with such information as will enable 
him to operate to the advantage of Yucatan. . . . It is hoped 
the action of Commodore Moore, who will personally command the 
squardon, will be such as to give entire satisfaction to the govern- 
ment of Yucatan. His orders have been made in strict con- 
formity with the agreement which has been entered into between 
the two governments. 3 

On the same day, September 18, 1841, Commodore Moore re- 
ceived orders from the department of war and marine in con- 
formity with the treaty entered into by Texas and Yucatan; and 
he was informed that the eight thousand dollars he would receive 
at New Orleans was all that he would be advanced for the pro- 
visioning of the vessels and recruiting of the men for the service. 
Another clause in the letter is here given in full ; as Commodore 
Moore claimed that at a later time in his service to Texas he com- 
plied with the order it contained, and was for so doing outlawed, 
declared a pirate, and dishonored by the Texan executive, Sam 
Houston : 

Peraza to Roberts, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 19-20. 

^Roberts to Pereza, September 18.. 1841, in Moore's To the People of 
Texas, 20-21. 

3 Those desiring to go more fully into a study of the alliance may con- 
sult Rivera, Historic de Jalapa, III, 400-401, 514-515; Banqueiro, Ensayo 
de Yucatan, 42-45; Niles' Register, LXI, 66, 131, 196. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 97 

The Department can not conclude these orders, without reiter- 
ating that the eight thousand dollars placed in the hands of your- 
self, and such other advances as Col. Peraza, in behalf of the 
Government of Yucatan, may think proper to make you upon the 
contract existing between his and this government, are the only 
funds you can rely upon for fitting out and supporting the squad- 
ron under your command : and if these are insufficient to enable 
you to go to sea under these orders, you will not attempt it, but 
remain in port, without accepting or using any portion of the 
pecuniary contribution which the government of Yucatan has 
agreed to advance. 1 

On Friday, October 8, 1841, Lieutenant Lewis left Galveston 2 
with the above dispatches and secret orders for Commodore Moore, 
to be opened after the completion of the provisioning. Commo- 
dore Moore was still surveying the coast, being on board the San 
Antonio, and accompanied by the San Bernard, commanded by 
Lieutenant Crisp. Lieutenant Lewis reached Moore on the 13th, 
and on receipt of the documents Moore sailed at once for Galveston. 
The money for the cruise and outfitting was deposited by the com- 
missioner in the custom-house in Galveston. Within two months 
all preparations had been made; and, on December 13, 1841, the 
vessels under Commodore Moore sailed for Yucatan. Outside of 
Galveston Bar Commodore Moore opened his secret orders, and 
found that he was instructed to sail direct for Sisal, in the State 
of Y'ucatan, 3 and to co-operate with the sea and land forces of 
Y r ucatan in cheeking any hostile act of Mexico. He was also in- 
structed to capture Mexican towns, and to levy contributions; and, 
for the purpose of compelling payment, he was authorized to de- 
stroy public works and edifices, and to seize public property, 
"taking care, however, to adhere to the principle that private prop- 
erty is always to be respected, and never to be violated except 
when unavoidable in the execution of duty." These acts it was 
hoped, would cause the central government no little annoyance, 
and would "strike a terror among the inhabitants, which may be 
very useful to us should it again be thought advisable to enter 
into negotiations for peace." For carrying out these instructions 

Archer to Moore September IS, 1841, in Moore's To the People of Texas. 
12-13. Endorsed by Moore as having been received October 13, 1841. 
2 Tennison's Journal, folio 372, p. 4. 
•Moore, To the People of Texas, 13-15. 

98 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

of the secretary of the navy, the Texas navy has been criticised by 
historians. Yet the same methods were used in the Civil War 
twenty years lated by both North and South. 

The first official communication received from Commodore 
Moore was dated January 31, 1842, from the Texas sloop-of-war 
Austin at anchor off Sisal. 1 Accompanying his own letter are 
copies of letters exchanged between him and the officials of Yuca- 
tan, which illustrate the embarrassing situation in which he was 
placed on his arrival. They also show the estimation in which 
the Texas navy was held by the government of Yucatan, which 
was on the point of reuniting with Mexico, and was negotiating 
the terms with the commissioner, Quintana Koo, under the im- 
pression that Texas would not be able to comply with her engage- 
ments. But, encouraged by the arrival of the Texan fleet, it in- 
sisted on justice from Mexico ; and the refusal led to a war, which 
for the time diverted the energies of Mexico from Texas to 
Yucatan. 2 Among other things the letter says : 

Dec. 13, ... I opened the "Secret Orders" received 1st 
October, in the presence of Lt. A. G. Gray, Purser N. Hurd, and 
Doct. Wm. Eichardson. ... I arrived and anchored off Sisal 
on the 6th inst, 3 the schooners San Antonio and San Bernard in 
company, having met the former on the 4th, and the latter on 
the 5th, . . . exchanged salutes with the Castle, and on the 
next day proceeded to the city of Merida, Lt. Com'g. Seeger in 
company with me. 

The Yucatan political situation is next portrayed, and Moore 
then says: 

The San Antonio takes this letter to Galveston and proceeds 
immediately to New Orleans for provisions, and when she joins 
me I will be enabled to keep at sea until the 1st May, without 
calling on the government for one dollar. If it be the wish of 
His Excellency the President to coerce Mexico to acknowledge our 
Independence, I can at once blockade all the ports of entry, viz. : 
Vera Cruz, Tampico, and the Brazos de Santiago; and if I had 
the steamer Zavala to co-operate with the Squadron, I could levy 
contributions on several of their towns to a greater amount than 

^oore to the Secretary of the Navy, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 
21-36. The date of the letter as printed is 1841, which is clearly incorrect. 
2 Moore, To the People of Texas, 21. 
3 January, 1842. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 99 

the entire cost of the Navy — without the Zavala little else can be 
effected but to pick up any vessel that they hazard out. . . . 
The vessels building in New York when I left Galveston, for the 
Mexican Xavy, I will use my utmost to intercept, and if they have 
contraband of War on board, I will send them to Galveston — this 
course being strictly in accordance with International law. . . . 
I leave to-day for Campeche and Vera Cruz; off the latter place 
I will cruize some time. 

Commodore Moore was also instrumental in saving the cargo of 
the American schooner Sylph of New Orleans, which had been 
wrecked on the Alacranes, and he rescued the crew and sent them 
with the cargo to New Orleans in the San Antonio. He makes 
the assertion that the Austin was full of rotten wood and that the 
agent of Texas in supervising the construction of the vessels was 
grossly at fault. This reference was to J. G. Tod, and seems to 
be the beginning of the estrangement which in later years was 
emphasized by President Jones's nomination of Tod to take the 
place of Commodore Moore, who had been deprived of his position 
(illegally, Moore says) as commodore, by President Houston. 
While Commodore Moore was detained at Merida, uncertain of 
his success in negotiating with the Yucatan officials, rumors of 
danger threatening him reached Lieutenant Alfred Gray, com- 
manding the ship Austin. As Gray could not communicate with 
Moore, he considered it his duty to detain as hostages, until the 
commodore's safe return, the commissioners from the national gov- 
ernment of Mexico and from Yucatan, who were taken from the 
American barque Louisa on their way to Vera Cruz. 1 Lieutenants 
A. Irvine Lewis and Cummings secured the commissioners and they 
were held until Moore was communicated with. As soon as pos- 
sible he informed Gray that he was in no danger and directed 
him to release them. Moore said that under similar circum- 
stances he would have done as Gray did; but suitable expressions 
of regret were addressed to the commissioners. In Commodore 
Moore's next report lo the secretary of war and the navy, he 
makes mention of the capture of the Mexican schooner Progmso. 
By this vessel be sent to Galveston a Letter in which ho says: 2 

'Moore To the People of Texas, 30-33; Tennison's Journal, folio 376, p. 1. 
These commissioners had been appointed to consider the reunion of Yucatan 
to t lie Mexican Federal ion. 

•Moore f<> the Secretary of War and Navy, February (>. 1842, in Moore's 

To the People of Terns. 36. 

100 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

I have this day taken as a prize the Mexican Schooner Progreso. 

I was off Vera Cruz yesterday and saw one of the vessels built 
in New York for the Mexican Navy, and learn to-day that she 
has been in three or four days, and the other one is hourly expected. 

A Lieutenant of Artillery (Mexican Army) was passenger in the 
schooner Progreso. ... I intend keeping him, as I will all 
other officers of the government who fall into my hands, until I 
can hear something definite of the Santa Fe expedition. 

The following is a contemporary account of the capture of the 

Feby 22d 1842 
Lut Wm. A Tennison of our Navy arrived on Saturday in 
charge of the Mexican Schooner Progresso captured by the sloop 
of war Austin in sight of Vera Cruz . . .on the 6th. She is 
ladened principally with Flour and Sugar. . . . When the 
Progresso left the schooner of war San Barnard was in chase of 
another Mexican vessel, which was stated to have on board a large 
amount of specie. . . . The San Barnard was to the windward 
of her and between her and the shore, and so certain was Com. 
Moore of the prize that we would not think it worth while to join 
in the chase. . . . 

A general officer was captured on the Progresso when he saw 
the Texan flag run up he tore off his epaulettes thrnsf them in 
his pockets, but it was no use he was caught in the act. . . . 
Sat-Anz 2 has purchased an old English steam ship carrying 4 
guns of an English system, and if he has any spirit — with her 
and the New York Brig may offer Com. Moore a fight — nothing 
would be more welcomb to the Tars. 

On February 25, when the Austin was again at anchor off Sisal, 
Commodore Moore learned from a pilot that the Mexican ship 
expected from New York was lost on the Florida reef on her way 
out, and the other Mexican vessels would not give him battle. The 
schooner San Antonio left Sisal on February 1, for Galveston with 
a letter from the governor of Yucatan to the president of Texas; 
and she was expected by Commodore Moore to meet him at the 
Areas Islands on her return about March 1, 1842. From the 
Areas Islands Moore intended to go to Laguna, at which place 

1 Tennison's Journal, folio 376, pp. 2-3 ; copied from the Galveston- Civil- 
ian, February 22, 1842. See also Telegraph and Texas Register, February 
23, 1842. 

2 Santa Anna. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 1Q1 

he was to overhaul the rigging and paint the ships. On March 8, 
Commodore Moore writes from Campeachy: 1 

I arrived here on the afternoon of the 6th inst., from the Areas 
Islands, where I waited two days for the San Antonio without 
meeting her; on my arrival here her delay was accounted for by 
the sad intelligence of the mutiny on board of her at New-Orleans 
(to which place she went for provisions,) and of the murder of 
one of the most promising officers, Lieut. Fuller, whom I have 
ever known. I expect to meet Capt. Seeger at Laguna, for which 
place I leave to-night, and I will mete out to the rascals the 
uttermost penalties of the law. 2 

Moore sailed that night, and two days later he received the 
following official note, 3 recalling him to Texas: 

Department of War and Navy, 
15th December, 1841. 
Commodore E. W. Moore, 

Commanding Texas Navy. 
Sir. — I am directed by His Excellency the President to order 
that the squadron under your command return forthwith to the 
port of Galveston, and there await further orders. . . . 

Geo. W. Hockley. 

In reference to this note Moore says : 4 

Xo. 16 . . . was received outside Laguna Bar on the 10th 
March, per Schooner of War San Antonio, and was written, as 
will be seen by reference to the date two days after the inaugura- 
tion of President Houston. It was the first communication that 
I had received since sailing, and although a peremptory order, I 
was compelled to disobey it. It will be seen by the subsequent 
letter from the Department (20) that the course adopted by me 
was approved by the President. 

The letter referred to by Moore as approving of his disobedience 
to this order reads as follows : 5 

*Moore to Lemns, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 41-42. 

-Se<> also Telegraph and Texas Register, February 23, 1842. 

3 Hockley to Moore, December 15, 1841, in Moore's To the People of 
';• va8 } 43." 


Hockley to Moore, April 14, 1842, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 

102 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

Department of War and Navy, 
April 14, 1842. 
Com. E. W. Moore, 

Commanding Squadron. 
Sir: Your dispatches by Capt. Crisp were handed into the De- 
partment yesterday. . . . Your proceedings personally, and of 
Courts Martials, specially, are approved, and the latter confirmed. 

Concerning the order for the recall of the navy, Houston in his 
speech before the Senate of the United States, July 15, 1854, said: 1 

The new President 2 was inaugurated on the 12th of December 
following; 3 and we find by the records, that on the 15th of that 
month the navy was recalled forthwith, and ordered to the port 
of Galveston. The orders ought to have reached the navy in ten 
or twelve days. A pilot boat was dispatched to carry the orders 
to Commodore Moore, the commander; but that vessel, owing to 
peculiar influences at Galveston, or some other circumstances, was 
not permitted to reach Campeachy until the 10th of March fol- 
lowing. On the first of May, I think it was, the fleet returned. 

In this connection, it is necessary, in referring to Houston's 
order dated December 15, 1841, to correct a very gross error on 
the part of historians which has, so far as I am aware, never been 
challenged by critics. Yoakum, 4 in closing the chapter devoted 
to the year 1840, says : 

The President's 5 health had been for some time very bad; and, 
getting no better, he obtained from the Congress a leave of ab- 
sence, and about the middle of December retired from his official 
duties, leaving them to be discharged by the Vice-President. 

That is all true, but in the succeeding pages Yoakum does not 
state plainly that Lamar afterwards resumed his duties as presi- 
dent, and the inference is left that his retirement was permanent, 
which was not the case. Thrall 6 makes a palpable error. He says : 

1 Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 1081. 

2 Houston. 

3 1841. 

4 A Comprehensive History of Texas, I, 368. 

5 Lamar's. 

6 Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas, 137. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 1Q3 

The cares and responsibilities of office weighed heavily on Presi- 
dent Lamar, and the severe strictures of political opponents af- 
fected his deeply sensitive nature, and he applied to Congress for 
permission to absent himself from the Republic. The request was 
granted, and during the last year the Government was administered 
by Vice-President Burnet. 

The "last year*' refers, of course, to 1841. It is, of course, too 
well known to require proof, that Lamar was the prime mover 
and cause of the Santa Fe Expedition of 1841, and that he fur- 
nished Col. McLeod with a proclamation to be given to the people 
of Santa Fe. 1 It is also well known that he was the promoter of 
the Yucatan alliance consummated in the months of July to Sep- 
tember, 1841. Moore states in his pamphlet 2 that this alliance 
was originated and was carried out by Lamar in 1841. He did, 
on account of ill health, for a time retire from the presidential 
duties, but only for a time. His letter to Burnet implies also that 
it was only temporary; for it reads thus: 3 "111 health has com- 
pelled me to ask of the Honorable Congress permission to retire 
from the discharge of official duty for the present." Bancroft 
falls into the same error; he says: 4 "The labors of office and the 
animadversions to which he was exposed, induced Lamar to apply 
to congress for permission to absent himself; and his request 
being granted, during the last year of his term, the government 
was administered by Vice-President Burnet"; and adds in a foot- 

From Dec. 15, 1840 to Feb. 3, 1841, the acts of congress were 
approved by David G. Burnet, after which date no signatures are 
attached to the acts passed in the copy of The Laws of the Re- 
public of Texas in my possession, only the word "approved" with 
the date, being used. 

This last statement, however, proves nothing, for in printing the 
laws passed during Houston's administration from 1841 to 1844 his 
signature never appears, though he did sign many of them. Those 

a Eugene C. Barker, in University of Texas Record, V, 159; Bancroft, II, 

2 Moore, To the People of Texas, 29. 

"Hobby, Life and Times of David 0. Burnet, 23. 

♦Bancroft, II, 343. 

104 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

which he signed are, as the secretary of state explains/ simply 
marked "approved." 

I have here devoted much space to proving that Lamar did act as 
president in 1841, because the historians so plainly infer that he did 
not, that the general reader and even the worker in Texas history 
is led astray. If their statements were accepted, of conrse Lamar 
had nothing to do with the Yucatan alliance of 1841; but, their 
statements being disproved, all doubt as to Lamar's having held 
the reins of government in 1841 are removed. The peaceful in- 
vasion of Texan territory by the Santa Fe expedition had its con- 
ception with Lamar, and became a calamity only because of cir- 
cumstances over which he had no control. Had the mission been 
successful, he would have been heralded as the foremost states- 
man of Texas. The Yucatan alliance was timely and of great 
help to Texas, and has only been recorded with doubting language 
by historians because it was little understood by historians, and 
because of the bitter attacks made upon it by Houston in after 
years. Notwithstanding the great deference given to Houston's 
opinions, nearly all the historians give the Yucatan alliance and 
the conduct of the Texas squadron in Yucatan a left-handed com- 
pliment. Lamar never quit his station because he shrank from 
criticism, as historians have stated; on the contrary, in his own 
lifetime, an able biography of him appeared in a leading Texas 
publication, 2 and, according to it, he was willing that his reputation 
should stand or fall according to these two policies. 

Commodore Moore remained at the port of Carmen, Laguna de 
Terminos, from the tenth until the twenty-eighth of March, at 
which time, accompanied by the two schooners, San Antonio and 
San Bernard/ he sailed for Vera Cruz. He says : 

. . . arrived off Vera Cruz on the 31st, and ran close in 
under the Island of Sacrificios to send in a boat to the United 
States Ship Warren. ... I discovered that the Steamer under 
the Castle was raising steam, and the Schooner now under Mexi- 
can colors was warping alongside of her. I immediately run up 

^ammel, Laws of Texas, II, 792. 

2 Texas Almanac, 1858, 109-114. The sketch was probably either pre- 
pared by Lamar or reviewed by him. 

3 Moore to Hockley, April 4, 1842, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 105 

the boat and began making preparations to give them a warm re- 
ception, (9 o'clock A. M.) standing out to get an offing, the wind 
being very light, and we being barely out of gun shot of the Castle. 
I remained near all day, passing once inside of one of the reefs 
forming the harbour, but they did not come out. The Warren 
sent a boat out to the ship, by the officer who came in her, I 
learned . . . that Mr. Thomas Lubbock 1 who escaped from 
Mexico, had sailed but a few days previous . . . for Laguna 
to join me; that night I sent the San Antonio back to Laguna for 
Mr. Lubbock, and stood to the X. and W. in Company with the 
San Bernard; the following forenoon I captured the Mexican 
Schooner Doloritas nine days from Matamoras bound to Vera Cruz, 
she was very near the land when we discovered her, and the super 
cargo and part of the crew made their escape in the boat . . . 
— she parted company yesterday for Galveston, and in the after- 
noon I landed the Captain Mate and boy with all their private effects 
at Point Delgada. . . . 

I herewith enclose all the quarterly returns of this Ship and the 
San Bernard, a correct chart of the sea coast of Texas, a correct 
chart of the bar and harbour of Pass Caballo with the Labacca and 
Matagorda Bays, and a plan of the proposed break-water, by 
which twenty feet water can be made at the bar at a comparatively 
trifling expense, and there is after getting in, one of the finest 
harbors in the world. . . . 

On the 3rd inst, within a few miles of Tuspan, we captured 
the Mexican Schr. "Dos Amigos," from Matamoros, bound to Tus- 
pan, with a cargo of salt. I will dispatch her also to Galveston 
to-night or tomorrow, in company with the San Bernard, the 
ComdV. of which vessel 2 will take this dispatch to the Seat of 
Government and return to Galveston with an answer and instruc- 
tions for me, by the time I arrive there. I touch at Sisal to get 
ten thousand dollars which will be due on the 8th inst., when I 
will sail direct for Galveston, in pursuance of your orders of the 
15th Dec. . . . there is every necessity of keeping the squad- 
ron at sea, and in a fighting condition, to prevent our Ports being 
blockaded and all communication cut off from the United States. 
Without the speedy return of our Navy on this coast, the navy of 
Yucatan will be captured or join that of Central Mexico, through 
fear, if nothing else. 

In a letter of the next day, 3 he adds : 

J A member of the Santa F6 expedition. 

2 D. H. Crisp. 

"Moore to Hockley, April 5, 1842, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 50. 

106 Alliance Between Texas and Yucatan. 

I feel it my imperative duty to urge "upon the Department the 
necessity of fitting out the steamer Zavala, in order that we may 
keep the ascendency Jpy sea and the communication open between 
Galveston and New Orleans. 

Moore, in commenting upon his recommendation respecting the 
Zavala says i 1 

Nos. 18 and 19 . . . are letters from me to the Depart- 
ment; the latter 2 contains my recommendation to the government 
to fit out the Zavala which could them, have been done at a small 
expense and saved from destruction, the most efficient vessel in 
the Navy; worth, $100,000, which has been lost to the country 
by the wise economy of government. . . . The wreck of the 
Zavala, now lying in Galveston harbor, is a melancholy evidence, 
of the sort of economy practised by President Houston ! 

In these remarks Moore is undoubtedly correct; for, by an act 
of the congress of Texas, approved by Houston, 3 the president of 
Texas was authorized to have the Zavala repaired, and at a later 
session another act was passed, also approved by Houston, 4 mak- 
ing an appropriation of $15,000 for the purpose. This authority 
Houston never used. 

The following letter will explain the temporary discontinuance 
of the Yucatan-Texas alliance: 5 

His Excellency the Governor . . . has received notice that 
they 6 do not think of invading us at present, and that if they 
do invade at all it will not be for eight months or a year, for 
reason of the want of resources and the embarrassed position in 
which Gen. Santa Anna finds himself. The State can not continue 
paying all this time, eight thousand dollars monthly to the vessels 
under your command, as agreed with the Government of Texas, to 
which you are subject, and for that reason I inform you, without, 
however, considering the friendly relations being interrupted, 
which has been reciprocally preserved by both Governments; that, 
you can . . . retire with the squadron under your command, 
after the current month has expired. . . . The Governor does 

'Moore, To the People of Texas, 45-46. 
2 Moore to Hockley, April 5, 1842. 
8 Gammel, Laws of Texas, II, 791. 
*lbid., 813-814. 

8 Lemus to Moore, March 29, 1842, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 

e The Mexicans. 

The JSavy of the Republic of Texas. 1Q7 

not doubt but that he can depend upon the assistance of Texas 
after the above indicated time has transpired. 

Under date of April 22, 1842, Lemus adds: 1 

The want of funds has compelled the Treasury to give a bill 
for $1000 to complete the $12,208, which will be paid in thirty 
days after date, consequently Mr. Seeger has only received $8606.06 
including the account of supplies, and an order for account of 
the Schooner San Bernard. 

Commodore Moore now sailed for Galveston with the squadron; 
and arriving there May 1, 1842, and finding President Houston 
and the secretary of war and the navy, Col. Hockley, there, he per- 
sonally handed the latter his final report of the cruise of the squad- 
ron, the most important parts of which are as follows: 2 

I parted company with the San Bernard on the morning of 
the 6th April, and in consequence of continued winds . . . 
did not arrive at Sisal until the morning of the 18th, when I met 
the San Antonio, she having on board Mr. Thos. Lubbock. . . . 
The same afternoon the brig of War Wharton arrived, and the 
next day I sent Lt. Coind'g. Wm. Seeger to Merida. ... On 
the forenoon of the 23rd, the San Bernard arrived, when I re- 
ceived your communication of the 14th ult . . . And got 
underway — the brig Wharton, and schrs. San Antonio and San 
Bernard in company : the next afternoon we all anchored off 
Campeache. On the 25th, the Yucatan vessels of war, two brigs 
and two schrs. — went to sea, and as they passed us they lowered 
their flags three times which we of course returned. In the after- 
noon I received on board eight thousand dollars. ... we all 
got under way at 1 o'clock A. M., (26th.) In the afternoon parted 
company with the Wharton off the Areas Islands and pushed on 
for this place, where I arrived to-day, and anchored at 4 o'clock — 
the San Antonio in sight astern, but the San Bernard not, she 
will he up tomorrow. 


On the evening of February 11, 1842, there occurred a mutiny 
on the Texan war vessel San Antonio, which had just arrived from 
Sisal and was lying in the Mississippi River opposite the city of 
New Orleans. When the principal officers bad gone ashore, the 

1 Lorn us to Moore, in Moore's To the People of Texas, 55. 

-Moore to Hockley, May 1, IS 12. In Moore's To the People of 7V./Y7.S, 60-61. 

lQg The Mutiny on Board the San Antonio. 

seamen in some way procured liquor and drank themselves into a 
state of intoxication. Their suspicious conduct was noted by the 
officers left on board, who began to prepare for an emergency, but 
did not suspect a mutiny. The sergeant of marines asked M. H. 
Dearborn, officer in charge of the deck, for permission to go ashore. 
Dearborn replied that no officer then on the vessel was authorized 
to give such permission and advised the sergeant to wait until the 
captain returned. The sergeant continued to argue the point; and 
Lieutenant Charles Fuller, who was for the time in charge of the 
vessel, came on deck and inquired the cause of the disturbance. 
Some of the men told him that they wished to go ashore. He 
then ordered the sergeant to arm the marine guard. This was 
done, and the sergeant probably gave arms to the crew also. He 
then approached Lieutenant Fuller and, after having first at- 
tempted to strike him with a tomahawk, shot and killed him. As 
Fuller's body lay on the deck, it was beaten with muskets and cut- 
lasses ; and two midshipmen were wounded in attempting to protect 
it. The mutineers then shut up the officers in the cabin, lowered 
the boats, and went ashore; but they were followed, and several of 
them were arrested, six at once, and others later. 1 

Soon afterwards the San Antonio sailed to join Moore's flagship, 
the Austin, on the coast of Mexico, carrying two of the mutineers 
and leaving nine in jail at New Orleans. On its arrival, Moore or- 
dered the trial of these two by a court-martial, which convened on 
the Austin, March 14. One of them was sentenced to be hung, and 
the other was given further time to get evidence from New Orleans. 
These proceedings were approved by the Texan government. 2 

After Commodore Moore went to New Orleans to refit in May, 
1842, he entered into a correspondence with Governor Eoman of 
Louisiana concerning the prisoners remaining in jail there, and 
was informed that a requisition from President Houston would be 
needed to secure their surrender. The requisition was accordingly 
issued on September 12, 1842, and on September 15 Moore was di- 
rected to order a court-martial to try the accused as soon as the tes- 
timony of witnesses could be procured. The name of one of the 

'See the New Orleans Bee, February 12; The Picayune, February 13; 
the New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, February 14; the Telegraph and 
Texas Register, February 22. 

2 Moore, To the People of Texas, 47, 48, 51. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 109 

mutineers was omitted in the first requisition, and a special requisi- 
tion for him was issued on October 29. * 

The prisoners lying in jail were surrendered to Moore just before 
he sailed for Galveston, April 15, 1843, and in accordance with the 
previous orders of President Houston a court-martial was or- 
dered, which convened on board the ship Austin on April 16, at 
one o'clock. The court was composed of Commander J. T. 
K. Lothrop, president; Lieutenants A. G. Gray, J. P. Lansing, 
Cyrus Cummings, and T. C. Wilbur, with Surgeon T. P. Anderson 
as judge advocate. The prisoners were tried on the following 
charges: first, murder and attempt to murder; second, mutiny; 
third, desertion. 

Of the prisoners, Seymour Oswald, sergeant of the marines, had 
escaped before the party was surrendered to Moore, and Benjamin 
Ponipilly had died in prison, confessing on his death-bed that he 
had killed Lieutenant Fuller. The court proceeded to the trial 
of Frederick Shepherd, boatswain of the San Antonio. After the 
examination of several witnesses, Joseph D. Shepherd, one of the 
mutineers, turned State's evidence upon a promise of pardon by 
the president. But for this the prosecution might have failed, as 
the principal witnesses perished in the ill-fated San Antonio, 
which was lost in the Gulf early in September, 1842. The testi- 
mony of Shepherd developed the fact that the mutiny had been 
planned and agreed to by the crews of the San Antonio and San 
Bernard, while these vessels were off the eastern coast of Yucatan 
in January, 1842. It was proposed to sell the San Antonio to 
the Mexican government. Circumstances forced the postponement 
of the mutiny till the San Antonio reached New Orleans. 

The verdict of the court-martial after a careful trial is recorded 
in the following document, which was signed by every member of 
the court: 

Texas Sloop-of-War Austin, 

August 18, 1843. 
Commodore E. W. Moore: 

Sir: We, the President and members of the court-martini, con- 
vened for the trial of Frederick Shepherd and others, have the 
honor to transmit to you the accompanying documents, being a 
true record of the evidence and minutes of the court. 

■Moore, To the People of Texas, 93, 95, 99, 100, 106. 

\\Q The Mutiny on Board the San Antonio. 

In discharge of the painful duty and the awful responsibilities 
imposed upon us, we have endeavored to confine ourselves strictly 
to the law governing courts-martial, and to the evidence that has 
been brought before us, and we have duly deliberated upon the ver- 
dicts returned. 

In the trial of Frederick Shepherd, we are of opinion that there 
is no evidence before the court to prove that he was aware that 
a mutiny was to take place, or that he was in a situation to aid or 
assist in quelling one on the night of its occurrence. We have, 
therefore, found the prisoner not guilty, and recommend his dis- 

Of the prisoners Antonio Landois, James Hudgins, Isaac Allen, 
and William Simpson, we have only to say that we deem the evi- 
dence elicited at the trial of each and every one of them suffi- 
ciently clear and distinct to convict them each of the various 
charges and specifications preferred against them, and have there- 
fore sentenced them to death. 

We beg to call your attention to the evidence in the case of 
William Barrington, from which you will find that he was deeply 
engaged in the mutiny on board the San Antonio; but it appears 
in the evidence that he informed one of the officers that it was to 
take place. In consequence of this information, the court has sen- 
tenced him to receive one hundred lashes with the cats. 

Of the evidence in the case of John Williams and Edward 
Keenan, we think it unnecessary to make any comments. Wil- 
liams, you will find, is strongly recommended to mercy. 
Very respectfully, 





Wilbur. 1 

In carrying out the sentence of the court-martial, Moore pro- 
ceeded with due formality. On April 22, William Barrington was 
punished with one hundred lashes on the back. On April 25, 
Moore had the sentence of each mutineer who had been given the 
death penalty, together with the laws governing the navy, read to 
him before the assembled officers and crew, and warned him to be 
ready to die the next day. On that day, when all were assembled 
and the necessary preparation had been made, he told the pris- 
oners of his duty to see the verdict executed; and that, as it was 

l Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., 2160. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. HI 

his first experience of the kind, he hoped it would also be the last. 
At noon the ship was hove to, and the four who had been con- 
demned to death were hanged at the yard arm. Prayers were then 
read over each separately, and the bodies dropped into the sea. 1 

The conduct of Moore in executing the sentence of the court- 
martial which he had ordered was characterized, in a communica- 
tion addressed to him by Secretary of War and Marine G. W. 
Hill, as murder; and, for this and other alleged offenses, he was, 
by order of President Houston, dishonorably discharged from the 
naval service of the Republic. 2 The action of the president, how- 
ever, was sharply censured by a House committee of investigation 
of the Eighth Texas Congress; and, as to the charge of murder, a 
court-martial provided for by the same Congress declared Moore 
not guilty. 3 


While Commodore Moore was awaiting orders at Galveston after 
his return from the Mexican coast, he received the following com- 
munication from the secretary of the navy regarding the Progreso : 4 

Department of War and Marine, 
Com. E. W. Moore, Galveston, May 3rd 1842. 

Commanding Texas Navy. 

His Excellency, the President, has instructed me, for reasons 
appearing to him upon the petition and showing of the party in- 
terested, to direct that the prize schr. "Progreso," lately captured 
and sold, be permitted to pass the blockade, at present maintained, 
on the part of this Government, against the ports of Mexico on 
the Gulf, and to enter any one of said ports without hindrance or 
molestation by the navy of this Republic. . . . 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, 

Your most obedient servant, 
Signed. Geo. W. Hockley, 

Secretary of War and Marine. 

'Sec Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Seas., 2160; The Quarterly. VII, 223. 

"Moore, To the People of Texas. 182-183. 

'■>(•(' p. 14() below. 

•Moore, To the PeopU of Texas, 61. 

112 Moore's E forts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

Moore says the Progreso took advantage of this passport, and 
sailed under Mexican colors from New Orleans with four hundred 
kegs of powder while he was there, and that he could easily have 
captured her but for his orders. About the same time, Moore re- 
ceived another order from the secretary of war and marine which 
follows r' 1 

Department of War and Marine, 
Commodore E. W. Moore, 3rd May, 1842. 

Commanding Texas Navy. 

Sir, — You will proceed forthwith to the Port of New Orleans, 
United States, to refit — the Schooners San Bernard and San An- 
tonio will proceed to Mobile for the purpose of receiving such sup- 
plies as will be furnished by our Consul at that place 2 — the officers 
necessary for the committal of the mutineers on board the San 
Antonio will proceed from Mobile to New Orleans for that pur- 

Convoy will be given to all transports of troops from Mobile or 
New Orleans to Corpus Christi. . . . 

I have the honor to be, 

Your most ob't servant, 

Signed. Geo. W. Hockley, 

Secretary of War and Marine. 

A third order tb Moore bearing the same date as the two already 
given 3 directed him to enforce the blockade ordered by President 
Houston on March 26, 1842. The causes leading to the proclama- 
tion of this blockade of the Mexican ports are given in the intro- 
ductory part of a pamphlet issued by President Houston as fol- 
lows : 4 

My Countrymen : — Eepeated aggressions upon our liberties — the 
late insult offered by a Mexican force advancing upon Bexar — and 
the perfidy and cruelty exercised towards the Santa Fe prisoners, 
all demand of us to assume a new attitude — to retaliate our in- 
juries, and to secure our Independence. 

The attempt to secure peaceable recognition of independence 

^oore, To the People of Texas, 62. 

2 Moore says that the consul at Mobile was unable to furnish any sup- 

"Moore, To the People of Texas, 63. The order is printed with the 
date May 3, 1843, but a note on page 201 corrects the date to 1842. 

4 Address of the President to the People of Texas, Apr. 4, 1842. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 113 

from Mexico was found to be futile. In a letter written to Barnard 
E. Bee on February 6, 184?/ Santa Anna said: 

I fully appreciate the problematic conditions of Texas; and I 
have before me the entire series of its consequences. I believe war 
to be necessary. I believe it a measure indispensable to the salva- 
tion of Mexico, and that her government will not faithfully per- 
form her duties, if she does not strain her resources to the utmost, 
boldly to enforce a full confession of her justice. 

Commodore Moore remained a week at Galveston, and pursuant 
to orders left on the 8th of May to fit out his vessels to enforce 
the blockade. He remained on board the ship Austin, and took 
with him the schooners San Bernard and San Antonio. To equip 
and provision the vessels and to pay the officers and men required 
a great deal of money, and Texan credit was low, but, while Moore 
had many promises of pay, he received very little cash. According 
to his own account he used of his private means and credit $34,- 
700 ; 2 and in later years his claim was allowed by the Texan Con- 

About one month after reaching New Orleans Commodore 
Moore was almost ready to sail; but on June 6 Commander 
Lothrop joined the squadron with the Wharton and brought the 
following instructions from Secretary Hockley: 3 

You will furnish Commander J. T. K. Lothrop with such men 
and provisions as you can procure for the brig Wharton, and pro- 
ceed with the squadron under your command, with the utmost 
possible despatch, to enforce the blockade of the Mexican ports, in 
accordance with the Proclamation of His Excellency the President. 

The Wharton had only nine seamen on board, was without pro- 
visions and ammunition, and would require an additional outlay 
of six thousand dollars to prepare her for the cruise. Though he 
had already strained his credit, Moore attempted properly to equip 
this vessel, meanwhile sending his brother to Texas for one-half 
of the appropriation of twenty thousand dollars made for the navy 

'See Austin City Gazette, March 23, 1842. 

•Moore. To the People of Texas, 07. In tins pamphlet Moore publishes 
many letters to prove that Houston, while ostensibly advocating war 
and anxious for the navy to proceed to sea, withheld the money appro- 
priated for the purpose. 

3 Ibid., 71. 

1 14 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

by the last Congress. In the letter which his brother bore Moore 
said r 1 

. . . not one dollar of this amount do I contemplate 
throwing into circulation, but if I had it I would be able to raise 
a sufficient amount here on my own paper, using the Exchequer 
bills as collateral security. 

So fully did Commodore Moore rely on receiving this small 
amount for such an important enterprise, that he shipped two- 
thirds of a crew for the Wharton, contracted for provisions, arranged 
the manner of payment, and had arrived at the certainty of being 
able to sail with the whole squadron in ten days after his brother's 
return, if his mission proved successful. We may imagine his dis- 
appointment when his brother returned, and he found that in 
place of the long-promised means, a shadow had been sent in the 
shape of President Houston's bond or obligation to pay over on 
Moore's requisition exchequer bills, when signed, to the amount of 
ten thousand dollars. The explanation sent along was as follows : 2 

The President directs me to say . . . that he has pledged 
himself, in the papers, that no further issue shall be made of Ex- 
chequer bills until the meeting of Congress. 

The bond was absolutely worthless to Moore, and meanwhile 
what he had procured for the squadron was fast being consumed, 
and his engagements for future supplies were forfeited. Two hun- 
dred and thirty seamen had been shipped for the four vessels ; but 
at the announcement of the failure of the government to send any 
funds the officers were disheartened, the seamen commenced de- 
serting, and there was every prospect of a complete failure of the 
expedition. In this extremity Moore left at once for Texas, and 
returned the worthless bond of President Houston. He arrived at 
Houston July 2, 1842, and was at once closeted with the secretary 
of the navy. Among other documents he placed the following in 
the hands of the secretary : 3 

t Moore, To the People of Texas, 72. 
2 Ibid., 72, 73. 
s lbid., 76. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. H5 

Mobile, 26th May, 1842. 
Sir — Captain Seeger of the schooner of war San Antonio, visits 
Merida for the purpose of receiving the money for the draft of 
($4000) four thousand dollars, given me last month. 

I have also authorized Captain Seeger to make an arrangement 
with His Excellency the Governor, and yourself, for an additional 
amount of money to enable me to reach your coast at an early date, 
better prepared for a longer stay, and I sincerely hope that the 
Government of Yucatan can aid me. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
Signed E. W. Moore, 

Commanding Texas Navy. 
To the Hon. Pedro Lemus, 
Secretary of War and Marine, 

Merida — Yucatan. 

This letter clearly indicates that Moore was looking to Yucatan 
to renew the alliance and to help the Texan navy; and the sec- 
retary of war and marine and President Houston were well aware 
at this time, both from documents and from personal interviews, 
of his plans. Yet there is no word of disapproval or of protest. 
This should be remembered in connection with the subsequent con- 
demnation of Moore for the adoption of such a policy without 
giving notice of his intention to the proper department. 

On July 5, Moore addressed a communication to the secretary 
of the navy 1 in which among other matters he drew attention to 
the fact that for the past two years nearly every officer had served 
without receiving pay, that many seamen when their time expired 
had to be discharged without pay, and that not an officer in the 
navy had a commission. He also said that the Zavala, which was 
lying in Galveston harbor unfit for service, must be repaired at 
once and caulked and put in the docks at New Orleans ; "if she re- 
mains where she is with the water in her, the worms will de- 
stroy her in six or eight weeks." Agreeably to his recommenda- 
tion, these matters were at once brought to the attention of Con- 
gress and suitable relief was given by it. Appropriations were 
made for the support of the navy, for repairing the Zavala, and 

^foore, To the People of Texas, 78-79. 

11(3 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

for carrying out other recommendations made by Moore; 1 but as 
Houston would do nothing, all proved unavailing. The Zavala, 
which he was to repair, he allowed to become a wreck. 

Moore says 2 that he remained in Houston from the 2d to the 
23rd of July trying vainly to get twenty thousand dollars that had 
been a short time before appropriated by the Texan Congress for 
the support of the navy. On the latter date he called on President 
Houston, who expressed his gratification at having just had the 
opportunity to sign another bill making an additional appropria- 
tion for naval purposes of $97,659. Houston then asked Moore 
when he would return to New Orleans, and Moore replied that it 
was useless to return "without the means of raising money to sus- 
tain the Navy." The president then refused to put the twenty 
thousand dollars Moore was asking at his disposal, but offered to 
give him a bond to be used in raising money on the faith of the 
appropriation. Moore said that money could not be procured in 
New Orleans by any such arrangement; that he had nearly ex- 
hausted his means and credit to sustain the navy and would go no 
further till he saw a disposition on the part of the authorities to 
aid him ; and that he would return to New Orleans at once, "dis- 
band the Navy and leave the vessels to rot in a foreign port, as offi- 
cers and men could not be kept on board without rations." The 
next day he wrote Houston a letter stating the necessity for his 
having the amount of the appropriation, and soon after he was fur- 
nished with exchequer bills to cover the whole of it except a small 
amount that had already been expended. But he found with the 
sealed orders which were given him, and which were not to be 
opened till he reached New Orleans, instructions to the effect that 
he was not to sell the bills outright, but only to hypothecate them, 
their value being thus seriously reduced. 

The commodore arrived at New Orleans on July 31. He found 
the ship Austin leaking seventy- three inches a day, and at once 
made arrangements to put her in dry dock ; other repairs were also 
needed on her and the Wharton. He now opened his sealed orders 
respecting the future action of the navy and found a proclamation 
of blockade for the Mexican ports, which was to be in force three 

J Gammel, Laws of Texas, II, 813. 
'To the People of Texas, 82-85. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 117 

days after its publication by him in the New Orleans newspapers. 
One of the reasons given in the proclamation for its promulgation 
was that a former proclamation of blockade 1 had been suspended, 
with a view to refit the vessels necessary for its effectual enforce- 
ment. 2 It is likely, considering the time of Moore's arrival in New 
Orleans, that the proclamation was published early in August, 
1842. On August 19, he writes to the secretary of the navy that 
"he has not yet succeeded in negotiating for funds to get to sea. 
The pressure in the money market is unprecedented, and Texas 
liabilities are almost worthless." On September 7, he reports 
having made some progress, but still lacks money ; and asks that 
the San Bernard, then at Galveston under command of D. H. Crisp, 
be repaired so as to join the squadron. She was not repaired, but 
was blown ashore by a storm in the month of September. 

On September 26, Moore received from Acting Secretary of War 
and Marine M. C. Hamilton a communication, dated September 15, 
containing the following statements and instructions : 3 

I enclose herewith, a copy of Proclamation, issued by His Ex- 
cellency the President, revoking the order of blockade, published 
in March last, in reference to the ports on the coast of Mexico. 
Your "sealed orders" [for the renewal of the proclamation], dated 
27th July, from this Department, are by consequence rescinded, and 
are hereby countermanded . . . You will not however, relax your 
exertions in consequence of it, nor will your activity on the Gulf 
be in the smallest degree impeded thereby. . . . You will pro- 
ceed to sea without further orders; and . . . open your 
"sealed orders," which are herewith transmitted. 

The proclamation revoking that of the 26th of March gives for 
its reasons that : 4 "treaties of recognition, amity and commerce 
have been concluded with Her Majesty's Government of England, 
in which stipulations are entered into embracing the recognition of 
Texian Independence by Mexico :" and "that mediation is now em- 
ployed, as well as an offered mediation by the Government of the 
United States of the North." And it goes on to state that, these 
countries being desirous that the blockade should cease, Texas, be- 

l That of March 26, 1842. 

-Moore. To the People of Texas, 88-89. 

"Ibid., 05. 

V&trf., 00. 

118 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

ing under many obligations to them, therefore revokes the order 
of blockade; and only Mexican war vessels and vessels bound for 
Mexican ports laden with contraband of war will be liable to cap- 

The sealed orders enclosed with the secretary's letter were 
opened by Moore on April 19, 1843, after leaving the bar of the 
Mississippi, and he found that they directed him to cruise up and 
down the Mexican coast capturing all Mexican vessels he might 
fall in with, "both armed and merchantmen," and capturing cities 
and laying contributions upon them. They contained the following 
general statement: "The Department having great confidence in 
your capacity and discretion as well as your knowledge of inter- 
national law, deems it unnecessary to give more detailed or partic- 
ular instructions." 

A letter from Moore of October 14 reports, among other things, 
that on October 1 two midshipmen, F. R. Culp and George R. 
White, had fought a duel in which Culp was mortally wounded; 
and that on October 11 Captain Robert Oliver, commanding the 
marine corps, had died on board the sloop of war Austin of con- 
gestive fever. The same letter states that Moore has made every 
effort to raise funds, without success. On October 26 he again 
writes to the department that he cannot get to sea if the govern- 
ment does not furnish him with the means, that the terms of many 
of the seamen are expiring, and that unless they are paid it will 
be useless to endeavor to ship another crew. On November 5, 
Moore received a communication from the secretary of war and 
marine dated October 29, which said, among other things : 

With respect to the detention of the squadron, I am instructed 
by His Excellency the President, to say, that he regrets it exceed- 
ingly — that it was very much to be wished that it could have been 
upon the Gulf; but that all the funds placed by Congress at the 
disposition of the Government for that branch of the public service, 
have already been placed at your command. 1 

Moore comments on this statement as follows: "Strange as it 
may appear, not one dollar of the $97,659 appropriated in July 
1842, had been or has ever been to this day placed at my command/' 
In a communication from Hamilton to Moore, dated January 2, 

^oore, To the People of Texas, 100, 101, 104. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. H9 

1843, this assertion is acknowledged. Moore says, "The evident 
intention of this paragraph in the letter, was to impress the belief 
on the minds of the members of Congress while in 'secret session/ 
(which was no doubt then resolved on by His Excellency) that I 
had received the whole of both appropriations. . . . Moreover, 
I have been informed by several members that such was their con- 

Hamilton's letter of October 29 goes on to say : 

Nothing has been received in reference to the schooner San An- 
tonio since she sailed for the coast of Yucatan in August last. Has . 
she since returned? 

If you cannot with the means at your command, prepare the 
squadron for sea, you will immediately with all the vessels under 
your command sail for the port of Galveston. 

This last clause contains the "order" to which President Houston 
in his proclamation of March 23, 1843, 1 refers as that for Moore's 
return to Galveston. This is the order that according to the proc- 
lamation was reiterated in the other orders that were disobeyed, 
and is the text for the various charges made against Moore of con- 
tumacy, disobedience of orders, mutiny, and piracy. If the reader 
examines the order critically, he can see that it was a provisional 
order for Moore to return to Galveston, if he found it impractica.- 
ble to carry into execution the government's positive orders to pre- 
pare for operations against the enemy, which was still the desire of 
the government. Moore states that if this had been an unequivocal 
order for his return to Galveston, he would have been fully justified 
in postponing the execution of the order ; for the enemy was daily 
expected upon the Texan coast, and the government of Texas would 
certainly not wish him to return to sea when unprepared to make 
such a defense as the vessels under his command ought to make. 2 

On November 19, 1842, Moore received from Acting Secretary 
Hamilton a letter, dated November 5, 1842, in which appears the 
following: 3 

Nothing can now be done with the San Bernard until appropria- 
tions are made for her repair. I much fear she is lost to the Gov- 

] See ibid., 168-170. 

'Monro. To the People of Texas, 102, 103 j The Quarterly, IX, 22-24. 

•Ibid., 107. 

120 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

eminent, and from accounts there is much reason to fear that the 
San Antonio is also lost, with those on board. If so, and it is 
impossible to fit out the two remaining vessels for efficient 
service, they had much better be in Galveston harbor than in a 
foreign port, With the hope, however, that some kind fortune may 
have enabled you to accomplish your purpose, I have the honor to 
be, etc. 

The inference to be drawn from this, which is another of the 
"orders" cited in Houston's proclamation of March 23, 1843, is 
that if by any good fortune Moore can get his vessels to sea and 
cruise on the Mexican coast, he is to do so and the government will 
rejoice; but if not, then he is to come to Galveston. 

The fears expressed regarding the San Bernard and San Anto- 
nio proved to be only too true. On September 22, 18-12, Lieutenant 
D. H. Crisp writes Commodore Moore: 1 

The gale . . . drove me on shore and left me here in two 
and a half feet water. ... I am getting everything out 
and putting on board the Galveston. ... I am rather short- 
handed, having but 20 men, and four on the "list." ... 1 
think it will take me about two weeks from this to get 

October 24, Crisp writes Moore again, saying : 2 

I presume the best plan will be to repair her [the San Bernard] 
thoroughly and launch her — ... at present I am doing 
nothing to her — my provisons will last about three days more, and 
then unless I hear something from the department I shall be 
obliged to discharge my men. 

The navy appears to be hard up, and I think we are fin- 
ished. . . . 

I hope we may hear something from the "San Antonio" by the 
next arrival — I much fear that gale which drove me ashore cap- 
sized her — with my yards down it laid me on my beam ends, and 
I believe would have capsized me if she had not driven 
ashore. . . . 

The boat has just arrived from Houston, and brought me no 
news from the department. ... so I shall be obliged to dis- 
charge my men immediately, and when the officers have eaten up 
the rest, I presume they must discharge themselves. 

x Moore, To the People of Texas, 108. Crisp's letter was written from 
the San Bernard. 
2 Ibid.. 110. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 121 

From the Archer Crisp wrote on November 2 that he had re- 
ceived a letter from the Department informing him that nothing 
could be done for him, and that he must do the best he could. On 
November 8, Moore sent Lieutenant Crisp from New Orleans such 
rations as he needed. These extracts from the letters of Crisp will 
serve well to show to what straits the naval officers were put to 
secure even the necessities of life. 

The third of the "orders" cited by Houston in his proclamation 
against Moore was dated November 16, 1842, and was received 
December l. 1 It simply instructs him to "carry out the instruc- 
tions heretofore issued by the department, under date of 29th Oc- 
tober and 5th November." Commodore Moore, on December 2, 
1842, made reply to this letter, saying among other things : 2 

The San Antonio sailed from Galveston on the 27th August first 
for Matagorda and then for the coast of Yucatan — she having on 
board over three months provisions. ... I did not mention 
her having sailed or the nature of her cruize, deferring it until her 
return, which I have been anxiously expecting for more than a 
month — but from news received from Campeche, two days since, 
up to the 15th November she had not been heard from, and I 
very much fear that she foundered or was capsized in one of the 
three heavy gales of September and October. The object of the 
cruize was to reconnoiter off the coast of Yucatan, and in the event 
of the people of that country holding out against the troops of 
Santa Anna, Lieu't Com'g Seeger was to communicate with the 
Governor and endeavor to obtain funds to fit out the Navy. 

I received a letter from the Secretary of War and Marine of 
Yucatan in the early part of November, from the tenor of which 
I have been expecting funds from that quarter, but ... I 
fear that nothing can be expected, . . . for the enemy are 
upon them by both sea and land. . . . 

I have been compelled to discharge within the last month about 
thirty men, whose term of service have expired, and had not one 
dollar to pay them off; . . . and on the 14th inst. there are 
not more [than] six men in both vessels whose term of service will 
not have expired. Under this state of things the department will 
Bee the utter impossibility of moving the vessels from their present 
anchorage without means to ship seamen, . . . neither can 
towage or pilotage be obtained on the credit of the Govern- 
ment. . . . 

J s<"o Moore, To the People of Texas, 111. 

VW.. 112. 

122 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

If I had money to ship a crew and purchase the balance of our 
provisions and clothing ... I could sail in a few days, and 
as the enemy are now on the Gulf (blockading Campeche) . . . 
I would not hesitate attacking them with this ship and the brig 
Wharton — every officer in the service is anxious, exceedingly anx- 
ious, to get off. 

In this letter Commodore Moore also sends to the auditor the 
returns of the pursers, N". Hurd and F. T. Wells, up to the quarter 
ending October 1, 1842. And again he speaks plainly of his de- 
sire to form an alliance with Yucatan, and indicates that Comman- 
der Seeger is there for that purpose as he has been at a previous 
time during Houston's administration. Afterwards Moore was de- 
nounced as a traitor for carrying out this plan ; but the statement 
of his wish to do so evokes for the time no criticism whatever. 

On the same day that Moore sent this letter to Texas, the acting 
secretary of war and marine sent a letter to Moore at New Orleans, 
which President Houston in his proclamation represents as the 
fourth order that was disobeyed. The letter merely states : l 
"Sir: — When you shall have arrived at Galveston and prepared 
your returns, as heretofore instructed, you will immediately proceed 
to this place, and report to the department in person." In reply 
to this fourth order, Moore writes December 19 : 2 

I forward the muster rolls of the sloop "Austin" and the brig 
"Wharton" by which the department will see how many men we 
have to take care of the vessels. I am still making every exertion 
in my power to raise money to ship a crew and get out of the 
river; nothing from Yucatan since last I wrote — have definite in- 
formation that the Mexican steamer "Montezuma" is on her way 
to Vera Cruz. 

On January 12, 1843, Moore received from the navy department 
the fifth order named in the proclamation as having been dis- 
obeyed. It is dated January 2, 1843, and reads : 3 

Your communication of the 19th ult, enclosing muster rolls of 
ship Austin and brig Wharton has been received. Any expecta- 

1 Moore, To the People of Texas, 116; the letter was received December 
14, 1842. 

2 Moore, to the People of Texas, 116-117. 
z IUd., 117. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 123 

tions that may have boon entertained of realizing or in any manner 
making available the appropriation of the extra session of Congress, 
will certainly end in disappointment. It was subject, from the first, 
and still is, to such contingencies as to render it a dead letter on the 
statute books. . . . You will, therefore, report in conformity 
(if practicable) with your previous orders, at Galveston. 

It should be noted that the last order rests on the condition "if 
practicable," and that the letter transmitting it acknowledges re- 
ceipt of the muster-rolls which Moore had sent to prove the im- 
practicability of moving the vessels at that time. He had also be- 
come involved by the use of his credit to obtain supplies. It was 
apparently impossible, unless by the use of his already overstrained 
private resources, to move the vessels even to Galveston. The only 
hope that remained was that Yucatan, now closely besieged by Mex- 
ico, would advance the means for defeating the common enemy. 
Through two friends' Commodore Moore received aid to dispatch 
a very fast pilot-boat, the schooner Two Sons, to Yucatan with a 
proposition to the governor of that state. It was dated on the 
sloop of war Austin, New Orleans, January 17, 1843, and the most 
essential part of it is as follows: 1 

His Excellency, the Governor of Yucatan. Sir — 

. . . In the latter part of August last, I dispatched the 
schooner of war San Antonio to Yucatan with letters to His Ex- 
cellency, Governor Mendez, containing certain propositions on my 
part, the tenor of which were, that if the government of Yucatan, 
would send to me the sum of $20,000 to 'fit the vessels under my 
command for sea, I would pledge myself to sail forthwith for your 
coast and protect it from the invading force of the Government of 
Santa Anna . . . The object in sending this communication to 
you now, in this manner, is to renew those propositions . . .if 
your Excellency will send to me by the schooner which conveys this, 
the sum of $8,000, I will, as soon after its reception as the utmost 
haste and dispatch will admit of, sail for your coast, [and] at- 
tack forthwith our common enemy, who arc now blockading your 
ports. . . . 

E. W. Moore. 

This proposition was favorably received by the governor of Yuca- 
tan, and Colonel Martin F. Peraza was sent io New Orleans with 

l Moore, To the People of Texas, 110-121. 

124 Moore's Efforts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

the money for which Moore had asked and with authority to con- 
clude an agreement whereby Yucatan might obtain the services of 
the Texan fleet. The agreement was signed at New Orleans, Febru- 
ary 11, 1843. 1 It was quite similar to the one that President 
Lamar had made with Pereza, as the agent of Yucatan, September 
17, 1841. 2 The essence of it was that on condition of receiving from 
Yucatan money enough to get the Texan fleet to sea, Moore should 
sail as promptly as possible to Campeche and attack the Mexican 
squadron which was then blockading that port; and that after cap- 
turing this squadron he was to continue his cooperation with the 
Yucatecan government- until the Mexican army should also be 
forced to surrender, for which service he was to receive eight thou- 
sand dollars per month. On February 24, Moore wrote to Acting 
Governor Barbachano of Yucatan 3 that he hoped to sail within a 

The next day, however, arrived Colonel James Morgan and Wil- 
liam Bryan, who had been appointed by President Houston com- 
missioners to carry into effect a secret act for the sale of the Texan 
navy passed by the Texan Congress January 16. 4 

By the same steamer that brought them, Moore received a letter 
from Secretary of War and Marine Hill, which he opened in the 
presence of Colonel Morgan. It contained the sixth and last order 
cited in President Houston's proclamation of March 23 as having 
been disobeyed. On January 27 a letter was presented to Commo- 
dore Moore from the commissioners, enclosing another letter from 
the department of the same date as that previously received. The 
letter from the commissioners read : 

New Orleans, Monday 27th February, 1843. 
Sir: — You will receive herewith a letter from the Hon. Secretary 
of War and Marine of the Eepublic of Texas in regard to the ves- 
sels of the Eepublic under your command in this port: and we 

*A translation is given in Moore, To the People of Texas, 125-126. 

2 Ibid., 17. 

*lbid., 129. 

lr rhere was a third commissioner, Samuel M. Williams, appointed, but 
he did not serve. The secret act has not been found; its provisions can 
only be inferred from the act of February 5, 1844, repealing it (Gammel, 
Laws of Texas, II, 1027), which refers to it as authorizing the sale of 
the navy. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 125 

should be glad to receive your reporl with as little delay as practi- 

We have the lienor to be, 

With every respect, 
Your obedient servants, 

J. Morgan, 
To Commodore B. W. Moore, Wm. Bryan. 

Commanding Texas Navy. 

The enclosed order read: 

Department of War and Marine, 

Washington, 22nd January, 1843. 
To Commander J. T. K. Lothrop, 

Or officer in command of Navy, 
Sir : — Immediately upon the reception of the order you will re- 
port the condition of the vessels, the number of officers and seamen 
under your command, to Wm. Bryan, Sam'l M. Williams and 
James Morgan, who have been commissioned by the President to 
carry into effect a secret act of Conaress with rcaard to the Navy, 
and you will act under and be subject to the order of said com- 
missioners, or any two of them, until you receive further orders 
from this department. 

I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 

Signed G-. W. Hill, 

[Endorsed :] Secretary of War and Marine. 

Received February 27. 

Moore was recognized by the commissioners as the officer in com- 
mand of the navy, and therefore as the proper recipient of the 
order they enclosed to him. But they had previously delivered 
him an order bearing the same date — January 22 — from Secretary 
Hill directing him to leave the Texan vessels under command of 
the senior officer present and report without delay to the Depart- 
ment of War and Marine at Washington. Moore's explanation of 
hi? conduct in the premises is that he followed a well known mili- 
tary rule in obeying the order received last, there being no priority 
of date. 1 

Everything thai passed between Moore and the commissioners 
wsl& apparently harmonious; no serious misunderstanding seems to 

'Moore, To the People of Texas, 130-1.32. 

126 Moore's F forts to Fit Out the Fleet at New Orleans. 

have arisen ; they seem to have had entire confidence in Moore and 
to have acquiesced in his every suggestion; and there is no protest 
on record from either Morgan or Bryan. According to the orders 
Moore had received and obeyed, he was to be guided by what any 
two of them agreed upon. There was no friction, and they agreed 
on all matters. Then, was not everything done in a legal way? 
And if any one was to blame, was it not the commissioners rather 
than Moore? Their instructions read that "should sickness or any 
other cause prevent the commissioners from acting jointly, they or 
either of them, may act in all things separately and singly, but not 
adversely." 1 Another point in their written instructions was as 
follows : "Should Post Captain E. W. Moore, not forthwith render 
obedience to the orders of the department with which you are 
furnished, you will have published in one or more newspapers, in 
the city of New Orleans my proclamations." 

On March 10, Moore wrote a letter to the secretary of war and 
marine 2 fully explaining his plans and purposes and his obliga- 
tion to comply with his agreement with the Yucatan government. 
The arrangement, he said, was one greatly to the advantage of 
Texas, and could be ended any time that Texas so desired. 

On April 3, 1843, Moore received from Acting Secretary of War 
and Marine Hamilton, in a letter dated March 21, 1843, the follow- 
ing order: 3 

In consequence of your repeated disobedience of orders, and fail- 
ure to keep the Department advised of your operations and pro- 
ceedings, and to settle your accounts at the Treasury, within three, 
or [at] most six months, from the receipt of the money which has 
been disbursed, as the laws require, and as you were recently or- 
dered to do, you are hereby suspended from all command, and will 
report forthwith, in arrest, to the Department in person. 

On receipt of this Commodore Moore at once wrote the following 
letter to the commissioners: 4 

'Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., App., 1081. 
2 Moore, To the People of Texas, 137-138. 
3 Moore, To the People of Texas, 139-140. 

4 Moore, ibid., 140. See also Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., 2166; 
Moore, Doings of the Texas Navy, 11-13. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 127 

Texas Sloop of War Austin, 
New Orleans, April 4th, 1843. 
Gentlemen — 

The communication, dated 21st March, from the Department of 
War and Marine, was handed to me by one of you on the evening 
of the 3rd instant, and as there has been and is a singular erro- 
neous opinion in the mind of the Executive in relation to my acts 
and motives, both of which are most seriously impugned, in order 
to preserve the Navy, (now ready for sea, with the exception of a 
few seamen) and save my own reputation, it is absolutely neces- 
sary that the tenor of the communication referred to above, should 
not be known to anyone until we arrive at Galveston, for which 
place I will sail direct, as soon as I get to sea; on my arrival, I will 
proceed in person to the Seat of Government agreeably to orders, 
and on my arrival at that place I feel assured that I can satisfy His 
Excellency the President, that so far from having any disposition 
to disobey orders, I have used every possible exertion to get the 
vessels in such a condition that I could venture on the Gulf. . . . 
My "sealed orders" having been countermanded and others is- 
sued, I would be pleased if both, or either of you take passage to 
Galveston in the ship with me. . . . 
I have the honor to be, 

With high regard, 

Your obedient servant, 

E. W. Moore, 
Commanding Texas Navy. 
Messrs. J. Morgan and Wm. Bryan, New Orleans. 

This letter gave entire satisfaction to the commissioners, and 
they united in the desire that Moore retain command of the ves- 
sels. 1 That the commissioners were entirely satisfied with Moore's 
action is shown by the fact that neither of them thought it 
necessary to publish Houston's proclamation; and they assured 
Moore that they were empowered by the president to act separately 
when it was not convenient for them to act jointly. 2 They made 
this statement to Moore, as he says, because he hesitated to act on 
the authority of one; and this lie claims to have satisfied him. 

'Moore, To the People of Texas, 139. 
'Ibid., 142. 

128 Engagements Off the Yucatan Coast. 




Commodore Moore left New Orleans with the ship Austin carry- 
ing eighteen guns and a complement of 146 men, and the Wharton 
with sixteen guns and 86 men, on the 15th of April, 1843. He 
was accompanied, in obedience to his invitation, by Commissioner 
James Morgan ; and with him went also Colonel William G. Cooke, 
afterwards adjutant general of Texas. He arrived at the Balize on 
the 17th, and was there detained by the fog until the 19th. On 
the 18th the American schooner Rosario arrived and anchored near 
him, having had a passage of three and one-half days from Cam- 
peche. She brought intelligence of the capitulation of the Mexican 
troops under General Barragan, near the city of Merida, and of 
the division of the Mexican squadron, the Montezuma being off 
Telchac. On leaving the mouth of the Mississippi, the direction 
of the cruise was changed, at the suggestion of Colonel Morgan, 
from Galveston to Yucatan. The reasons for this were given by 
Morgan himself in his testimony before the court-martial by which 
Moore was afterwards tried. 1 In answer to questions from Moore, 
he said that while the Texan vessels were still within the Missis- 
sippi River, there came on board the Austin the captains of two 
vessels who stated that they were just from Campeche; that the 
Mexican and Yucatecans were about to settle their difficulties ; that 
Barragan and Lemus had capitulated; and that Ampudia was un- 
derstood to be planning an expedition against Galveston. The wit- 
ness had therefore hazarded the responsibility of suggesting to Moore 
to go by Yucatan, on the way to Galveston, to prevent if possible the 
formidable invasion of Texas that Houston had predicted. He ex- 
pressed his conviction that Moore, without this suggestion, would 
have gone straight to Galveston. In a letter to Moore, dated June 3, 
18 43, 2 which harmonizes, so far at goes, with the evidence given 
before the court-martial, Morgan states that he wrote from, the Balize 
near the mouth of the Mississippi to his colleague Bryan, who was 
still at New Orleans, not to go to Texas at once, nor to write to the 
Department of War and Marine till he heard further from Morgan 

^loore, Doings of the Texas Navy, 12-13. 
-Moore, To the People of Texas, 171-172. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 129 

himself; for information obtained on the outward voyage might 
turn the squadron again towards Galveston. And Moore says that 
he and Morgan had received, just before leaving New Orleans, in- 
formation that they regarded as credible to the effect that Mexico 
had pledged herself to England, in case she failed to prove her abil- 
ity to reconquer Texas by taking Galveston before May 15, to agree 
to an armistice. 1 

Moore now sailed direct to Yucatan, and being much delayed by 
adverse winds, arrived at Telchac April 27, one day too late to 
meet the Montezuma. On the next afternoon he communicated 
with Sisal, where he learned that the Montezuma had passed but a 
short time before. On the evening of the 29th, he anchored within 
fifteen miles of Lerma, and the following morning at four o'clock 
got under way. 2 At daylight the Austin, under Moore's command, 
and the Wharton, under Captain Lothrop, discovered two large 
steamers, two armed brigs, and two armed schooners bearing down, 
evidently to attack them. The Texan vessels prepared for action 
and headed directly for the enemy. At 7 :35 the Mexicans began 
firing. Some of the shot passed over the Texan vessels, and some 
fell short, but none reached their aim. At 7 :50 the Texans began 
replying, and the engagement lasted till 8 :26, when the Mexican 
vessels passed out of range of the Texan fire. 

Moore then cast anchor within seven miles of Campeche. At 
11:15 the two steamers again approached, and the fight was re- 
newed between them on one side and the Austin and Wharton, as- 
sisted by two schooners and some gunboats belonging to Yucatan, 
on the other. At 11 :40 the Texans, rinding that their shot did not 
reach the Mexican vessels, again ceased firing. At 1 p. m. a few 
more pilots were exchanged, but the distance made them ineffective. 
In the course of the engagement, the Austin was struck by one shot, 
which did no great damage. The Wharton had two men killed 
and four wounded. The Mexican vessels fared worse, losing four- 
teen men killed and thirty wounded. The Guadalupe had seven 
killed, and a Dumber wounded.' 1 

'Moore, To the Peopli of Texas, 145-146. 

*For the account of the engagement which followed) see Moore, To the 
PeopU of Texas, 151-153. 

"Midshipman Alfred Wallke, Journal (MS. in Texas State Library) 
for April 30. Captain Cleveland, chief officer of the Montezuma, died 

130 Engagements Off the Yucatan Coast. 

The relatively great loss in killed and wounded on the Mexican 
vessels is accounted for to no small extent by the fact that they 
carried much larger crews than the Texan vessels. They should 
have inflicted far more damage than they did; for the Montezuma, 
Guadalupe and Eagle carried in the aggregate four 68-pounders; 
six 42-pounders; two 32-pounders; and six 18-pounders, all Paix- 
han guns ; besides, the Mexican fleet had the inestimable advantage 
of possessing two steamers. The vessels of the Yucatan squadron 
joined those of Texas during the fight, and in any estimate of rel- 
ative strength must, of course, be counted with them. While the 
combined fleet carried two guns more than the Mexican, the broad- 
side was very much lighter. Colonel Morgan testified 1 that the 
entire crew of the Texan vessels considered the affair a jubilee oc- 
casion, and the only regret was that they could not close with the 
Mexicans and fight it to a finish. He adds that both Commodore 
Moore and Captain Lothrop managed and fought their vessels 
handsomely. The wounded men of the Wharton were sent to the 
hospital at Campeche and were soon able to be about. 

On Tuesday, May 2, Moore, after giving his crew one day's rest, 
endeavored to bring the enemy into action; but with their three 
steamers, — for they had now been re-enforced by the arrival of the 
Regenerador — they were able to keep directly to the windward of 
him and out of firing range. Moore maneuvered for three days 
without bringing the Mexicans to action; but on the afternoon of 
May 5 several ineffective shots were exchanged. On the 7th, a few 
minutes after sunrise, he undertook to close with the Mexican ves- 
sels; but they fled under steam and soon left the Austin and Whar- 
ton behind. Not a shot was fired during the day. In order to 
give his crew a little rest, Moore ran into Campeche on the after- 
noon of May 7 and anchored, waiting for a breeze to resume his 
maneuvers, while the Mexican ships anchored off Lerma, some six 
miles away. On the 10th he took advantage of the opportunity to 

about the time of the engagement. According to Moore (To the People 
of Texas, 157), his death occurred on April 29 and was due to yellow 
fever; but Commissioner Morgan, in a report to Secretary Hill dated 
May 9, 1843, says it was understood that Cleveland was killed, 
^oore, Doings of the Texas Navy, 18. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 131 

send a dispatch to Secretary Hill 1 acquainting him with the doings 
of the squadron. 

Moore found on reaching Campeche that an armistice existed 
between Yucatan and Mexico, and that a treaty of amity was being 
negotiated under the impression that the Texan squadron would 
not come to the relief of Campeche. The naval battle of April 30 
prevented the completion of the arrangement. While the vessels 
were at Campeche, the governor of Yucatan offered the loan of two 
long 18-pounders for the Austin and one long twelve for the 
Wharton, which Moore was glad to accept, and which proved very 
useful in the action that came a few days later. With the con- 
sent of the governor, these two guns were afterwards brought to 

On May 16, Moore succeeded in engaging the Mexican squad- 
ron again, and this time there was much sharper work. 2 The firing 
was begun by the Mexicans at 10 :55, with the Austin about two 
and a half miles distant, the Wharton about one-fourth of a mile 
further, and the Yucatan squadron in shore near these two. At 
11:05 the Austin replied with its long eighteen, and the Wharton 
began firing also. The engagement soon became warm and lasted 
until 3 p. m., when the Guadalupe ceased firing, and the Mexican 
vessels could no longer be brought to close quarters. In the course 
of the fight, the Austin was considerably damaged and lost three 
men killed and twenty-one wounded. The minutes of the action 
state that at one time Moore ran his ship directly between the Mon- 
tezuma and the Guadalupe in seeking to close with them. The 
Wliarton lost two men killed by the bursting of a gun, but was not 
struck by the Mexican shot at all. The Mexican vessels suffered 
greatly. The Montezuma was badly damaged, and the Guadalupe 
almost disabled; and the loss in killed and wounded on the two 
vessels, according to the testimony of an English deserter from one 
of them, amounted to 183. :5 In this fight, owing to the short 
range of its guns, the Yucatan squadron took no part. The Texan 
vessels threw a much heavier broadside than the Mexicans; but, in- 
asmuch as the distance at which the greater part of the firing took 

••Moore, To the /'< eople of Terns, 140. 

*Ibid., 160-162. 

•Walke. MS. Journal, entry for May L6. L843. 

132 Engagements Off the Yucatan Coast. 

place made all except the long range guns unavailable, little can 
be inferred from the gross comparison. As Moore expressed it, the 
Paixhan 68-pounders of the Mexican vessels were tremendous guns, 
and the "hum" of their missiles was a "caution." 

Among those killed in this engagement was Frederick Shepherd, 
who was one of the men charged with mutiny on board the San An- 
tonio, but was acquitted. He was captain of a gun on board the 
Austin, and behaved himself with such gallantry as to win from 
Moore the strongest commendation. 

On June 1, 1843, Colonel Morgan came on board the Austin 
from Campeche, bringing with him a proclamation by President 
Houston. This proclamation, though dated March 23, was not 
published until May 6, 1843. It is as follows : 


Whereas, E. W. Moore, a Post Captain commanding the Navy of 
Texas, was, on the 29th day of October, 1842, by the acting Secretary 
of War and Marine, under the direction of the President, ordered 
to leave the port of New Orleans, in the United States, and sail 
with all the vessels under his command, to the port of Galveston, 
in Texas: and whereas, the said orders were reiterated on the 5th 
and 16th of November, 1842 : and whereas, he, the said Post 
Captain, E. W. Moore, was ordered again, 2nd December, 1842, to 
"proceed immediately and report to the Department in person" : 
and whereas, he was again, on the 2d January, 1843, ordered to act 
in conformity with the previous orders, and, if practicable, report 
at Galveston : and whereas, he was again on the 2 2d of the same 
month, peremptorily ordered to report in person to the Depart- 
ment, and to "leave the ship Austin and the brig Wharton under 
the command of the senior officer present:" and whereas, also, com- 
missioners were appointed and duly commissioned, under a secret 
act of the Congress of the Republic, in relation to the future dispo- 
sition of the Navy of Texas, who proceeded to New-Orleans in dis- 
charge of the duties assigned them and, whereas, the said Post 
Captain, E. W. Moore, has disobeyed, and continues to disobey, all 
orders of this government, and has refused, and continues to re- 
fuse, to deliver over said vessels to the said commissioners in ac- 
cordance with law; but, on the contrary, declares a disregard of 
the orders of this government, and avows his intention to proceed 

: Moore, To the People of Texas, 168-170; Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st 
Sess., App., 1082. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 133 

to sea under the flag of Texas, and in a direct violation of said 
orders, and cruize upon the high seas with armed vessels, contrary 
to the laws of this Republic and of nations: and, whereas, the 
President of the Republic is determined to enforce the laws and 
exonerate the nation from the imputation and sanction of such in- 
famous conduct; and with a view to exercise the offices of friend- 
ship and good neighborhood towards those nations whose recogni- 
tion has been obtained ; and for the purpose of according due re- 
spect to the safety of commerce and the maintenance of those most 
essential rules of subordination which have not heretofore been so 
flagrantly violated by the subaltern officers of any organized gov- 
ernment, known to the present age, it has become necessary and 
proper to make public these various acts of disobedience, contumacy 
and mutiny, on the part of the said Post Captain, E. W. Moore; 
Therefore: I, Sam Houston, President, and Commander-in- 
Chief of the Army and Navy of the Republic of Texas, do, by these 
presents, declare and proclaim, that he, the aforesaid Post Captain, 
E. W. Moore, is suspended from all command in the Navy of the 
Republic, and that all orders "sealed" or otherwise, which were 
issued to the said Post Captain, E. W. Moore, previous to the 29th 
October, 1842, are hereby revoked and declared null and void, and 
he is hereby commanded to obey his subsequent orders, and report 
forthwith in person to the Head of the Department of War and 
Marine of this Government. 

And I do further declare and proclaim, on failure of obedience 
to this command, or on his having gone to sea, contrary to orders, 
that this Government will no longer hold itself responsible for his 
acts upon the high seas; but in such case, requests all the govern- 
ments in treaty, or on terms of amity with this government, and 
all naval officers on the high seas or in ports foreign to this coun- 
try, to seize the said Post Captain, E. W. Moore, the ship Austin 
and the brig Wharton, with their crews, and bring them, or any 
of them, into the port of Galveston, that the vessels may be secured 
to the Republic, and the culprit or culprits arraigned and punished 
by ilic Bentence of a legal tribunal. 

The Naval Powers of Christendom will not permit such a 
flagrant and unexampled outrage, by a commander of public ves- 
sels of win-, upon the right of his nation and upon his official oath 
and duty, to pass unrebuked; for such would be to destroy all civil 
rule and establish a precedeni which would jeopardize the com- 
merce on the ocean and render encouragement and sanction to 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto sel my hand and caused 
the great seal of the Republic to be affixed. 

Done at Washington, the 23 dav of March, in the year of our 

134 Engagements Of the Yucatan Coast. 

Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and the Inde- 
pendence of the Eepublic the eighth. 

Signed, Sam Houston. 

By the President. 
John Hall, 

Acting Secretary of State. 

On reading the proclamations both Morgan and Moore deter- 
mined that it would be improper to attempt further hostilities 
against the enemy, and agreed to sail for Galveston immediately 
on receipt of sufficient powder to fight their way back if molested. 
The governor of Yucatan had none to spare; but he sent to New 
Orleans at once and procured what was necessary for the two ves- 
sels and for his own troops. This took several weeks. On the 25th 
of June the Mexican squadron left the Yucatan coast in the night, 
and the Texan fleet was in undisputed possession of the Gulf of 
Mexico. On the 28th of June the Texan vessels left Campeche and 
on the 30th arrived at Sisal. After remaining at Sisal a week and 
making such collections as were still due from Yucatan to Texas 
and paying all accounts made by himself and crew, Moore left the 
Yucatan coast with the thanks of the people of that country and 
their best wishes for his future welfare. After stopping at the 
Alacranes a few hours to catch turtles for his men, who were in 
need of fresh provisions, the vessels sailed for Galveston and ar- 
rived on the 14th of July, 1843. 

Thus gloriously for Texas was the Yucatan expedition ended 
and the object of the cruise attained. The Texan navy rode in 
triumph upon the Gulf, and Galveston and Texas were free from 
apprehensions of an attack or invasion from Mexico by sea. That 
the outcome was so unfortunate for some of its worthy leaders, was 
no fault of theirs; and notwithstanding the shame brought upon 
them by Houston, the great majority of the people of Texas ap- 
plauded and endorsed what they had done. 

Notwithstanding Houston in his proclamation states, "that this 
Government will no longer hold itself responsible for [Moore's] 
acts upon the high seas," the government of Texas did nevertheless 
so hold itself responsible; and he, himself, be it said to his credit, 
afterwards approved two joint resolutions for the relief of certain 
disabled seamen, marines, and landsmen wounded in the action of 

The Navy of the, Republic of Texas. 135 

the 16th of May off Yucatan. 1 Among the number awarded half 
pay for life were Dick Streatchout, Thomas Atkins, John Norris, 
Thomas Barnet, George Davis, James Brown, and Terence Hogan; 
while Andrew Jackson Bryant was to have the same pension, so 
long as his disability from wounds should continue. 


President Houston in his proclamation demanded of all nations 
in amity with Texas "to seize the said Post Captain, E. W. Moore, 
and bring . . . [him] . . . into the port of Galveston, 
that . . . the culprit or culprits [may be] arraigned and pun- 
ished by the sentence of a legal tribunal." Yet, strange as it may 
seem, the president was averse to doing this, when the culprit pre- 
sented himself; and it was only by Moore's own persistent efforts 
that he was able to get himself tried at all. On the day of his ar- 
rival at Galveston, July 14, he addressed a note to H. M. Smythe, 
sheriff of Galveston county, saying that, as he had been proclaimed 
by the president of Texas a pirate and an outlaw, he had voluntarily 
returned and now surrendered himself for the purpose of meeting 
the penalties of the law. The sheriff replied on July 15 that, as 
he had not been asked to take cognizance of the matter, either by 
the president or by any judicial authority, he did not conceive it 
incumbent upon him to do so. 2 

AYhile Moore was yet on board ship, after reaching Galveston 
harbor, he received also a note from J. M. Allen, mayor, saying that 
the citizens and military of the city wished to give him a hearty 
welcome and begged that the hour of his landing might be fixed in 
accordance with their purpose. When he came ashore, he was re- 
ceived with the firing of cannon and the applause of crowds. He 
made a speech denying that he had disobeyed orders; and Colonel 
Morgan, who landed with him, also addressed the assembled throng, 
declaring that he assumed the responsibility for the cruise, and 
that under similar conditions he would do the same again. 

On the 17th of July Moore reported his arrival to Secretary Hill; 

Trammel. Laws of TexaB, II, 070-977, 1011. 

»Fot !><>tli letters, Bee Moore, Doings of the Teams Navy, pp. 20-21. 

136 The Dismissal of Moore and Others. 

and on the 21st of July he wrote again, saying, among other 
things. 1 

I am . . . anxious to appear before the tribunal which his 
excellency, the President, has expressed so much solicitude to the 
world to have me brought before. 2 

On July 25, Moore received a letter, dishonorably discharging 
him from the Texas navy/ 5 The charges recited in it are identical 
with those given in the proclamation of March 23 ; but in addition, 
he is charged with piracy, for having acted as commander of the 
vessels after being suspended, and with murder, for carrying out 
the sentence of the court-martial in the case of the mutineers of the 
San Antonio. On the same day William Bryan and William C. 
Brashear informed Moore by letter that Commissioner James Mor- 
gan had been discharged on April 3 and Brashear appointed 
in his stead; also that Commander J. T. K. Lothrop and Lieuten- 
ant C. B. Snow were discharged from the naval service of the Ee- 
public of Texas, and that Moore was authorized to turn over the 
command of the ship Austin to the senior lieutenant on board. Cap- 
tain Lothrop was to turn the brig Wharton over to Lieutenant 
William A. Tennison. 4 The charges against Lothrop were dis- 
obedience, delinquenc}', and contempt of his superiors in refusing 
to assume command of the navy on the arrest of Moore, April 3, 
1843, or to recognize and obey the order of the Department of 
War and Marine to the effect. Concerning this, Moore says: 5 

As an evidence of the extraordinary course which the government 
has ventured to pursue, in order to crush her victims, I will relate 
the fact, that the President has dishonorably discharged a patriotic 
and meritorious officer, in consequence of his failure to execute an 
order which he never saw — and the authorities knew this fact when 
the discharge was penned ! ! The circumstances were these : A 
sealed letter was handed to Captain J. T. K. Lothrop in New Or- 
leans, from the Commissioners, and was withdrawn by one of them 
(Col. J. Morgan) a few minutes afterwards, before the Captain 

3 For both letters, see Moore, To the People of Texas, 179-180. 
: In 'this letter, Moore reports also the death of Lieutenant J. P. Lansing 
at Sisal on July 3. 

s Moore ; To the People of Texas, 182-183. 

'Ibid., 181. 

"Ibid., 10-11. ; 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 137 

went on board of his vessel (where it is customary to open special 
communications.) It was returned, with the seal unbroken, when 
solicited by the Colonel who expressed himself pleased that it had 
not been read, as circumstances had arisen, which rendered its de- 
Livery no longer necessary. He gave no intimation of the character 
of the communication to Capt. Lothrop. All this was done by 
Col. Morgan with the full concurrence of the other commissioner 
(Mr. Wm. Bryan). It now 1 appears that the sealed letter con- 
tained an order appointing Capt. Lothrop to the command of the 
squadron in my place — and he has been dishonorably discharged 
from the service, for not thwarting the Government Commissioners, 
by ousting me from my command in compliance with a commission 
or order, which he has not seen to this day!! 

Lieutenant Snow was dishonorably discharged for leaving the 
San Bernard in Galveston, when— as Moore claims — he was liter- 
ally starved out by the policy of the government, and was going to 
join the squadron at New Orleans, carrying with him and depositing 
with Moore some small arms, which were liable to be stolen from 
the vessel he abandoned. 

Moore and Lothrop, and apparently Snow also, acknowledged 
receipt of the communications dismissing them from the service. 
Moore had already, in his communication of July 21 to Hill, ex- 
pressed his readiness and anxiety for trial; and, in his letter of 
July 28 acknowledging receipt of the notice of his dismissal, 
Lothrop, after protesting against his treatment, continued as fol- 
lows : 2 

I claim and demand, a fair and impartial hearing for the charges 
brought against me, and as His Excellency and the Department have 
not thought proper to render me that common justice I shall at the 
proper time appeal to a higher tribunal. 

Seeing that President Houston said nothing, in his annual mes- 
^aire of December 12, 1843, concerning the dismissal of Moore, 
Lothrop, and Snow or the charges against them, Moore appealed to 
Con<irc«. He gained his point ; the naval committees of the House 
and Senate of the Eighth Congress made a joint report 3 thai was 

■September 21. 1843, the date of Moore's pamphlet. 
-Moon-. To ///'■ People of Texas, 179-180, 188-189. 
'House ■!<>„,■, ,ni. si l, T<>\. Cong., 348-361. 

138 The Dismissal of Moore and Others. 

a complete vindication of Moore's character and conduct. Ex- 
tracts from it follow : 

In this case,, Captain Moore was dismissed from a service in 
which he had made great sacrifices in sustaining the honor and 
reputation of his country, and deprived of a high and honorable 
station, which he had dignified by his official conduct and deport- 
ment, without a trial or even the semblance of a trial; and if such 
a course can be sustained or even excused in the functionary pur- 
suing it, it must be under the provisions of some positive 
law. . . . 

The undersigned know of no law that justified it. . . . 

If, then, there is found no authority in the Constitution for the 
exercise of the power which was brought into action on this occa- 
sion, the committee are at a loss to know from whence it was de- 
rived. If there is any statute which confers it, the undersigned 
have been unable to discover it; but in their researches upon the 
subject, they have found a statute, which expressly declares, that 
it shall not hereafter "be lawful to deprive any officer in the mili- 
tary or naval service of this Eepublic, for any misconduct in office, 
of his commission, unless by the sentence of a court martial." This 
law . . . has never been repealed. It was therefore in full force 
and operation on the 19th of July, 1843, when Commodore Moore 
was dishonorably dismissed, and deprived of his commission . . ., 
"by the order of the President," without "sentence of a court 

So direct and palpable a violation of the positive provisions of 
a statute well known to the Executive at the time he gave the order, 
cannot be justified. . . . 

The undersigned, however, cannot discover in the papers and 
documents submitted to them, the grievous offenses and crimes im- 
puted to Captain Moore in the letter from the Secretary of War 
and Navy, conveying to him the order of the President for his dis- 
honorable discharge. . . . 

With regard to the first charge, the undersigned have found 
abundant evidence . . ., showing that he [Commodore Moore] 
had expended more money for the use of the navy, than he is 
charged with having received; they therefore consider this charge 
as wholly groundless. . . . 

And thus the committee went through all the charges against 
Moore, finding them all practically groundless. On the seventh 
and last charge of "piracy" they comment in their report as fol- 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 139 

Without investigating this new and singular species of piracy — 
a species which seems to have escaped the knowledge of most, if 
not all, the elementary writers on international law, the under- 
signed deem it only necessary to say, that the facts submitted to 
them do not sustain the charge. . . . Captain Moore was in 
command of the squadron by the authority of the commissioners, 
which command, conferred as it was by lawful authority, was a 
full and entire removal, for the time being, of the suspension and 
arrest, which was intended to be imposed by the order of the 21st 
of March, 1843. . . . 

But whether Captain Moore was guilty of treason, murder, and 
piracy, or not, it forms no justification, in the opinion of the un- 
dersigned, for the violation of a positive statute in dishonorably dis- 
missing him from the service without a trial, or an opportunity of 
defending a reputation acquired by severe toils, privations and 
hardships, in sustaining the honor and glory of the flag under 
which he had sailed and fought. If he were guilty, the courts of 
his country were open for his trial and punishment, and he 
should immediately upon his return have been turned over to those 
tribunals; and if not guilty, it was worse than cruel, thus to have 
branded with infamy and disgrace, a name heretofore bright and 
unsullied on the pages of our history; and to have driven from our 
shores, as an outcast upon the world, one whose long and well tried 
services, all appreciate and approve. 

The undersigned, therefore, recommend the adoption of the ac- 
companying resolution, 

John Kugeley, 
James Webb, 
Wm. L. Hunter, 
H. Kendrick, 
J. W. Johnson, 
Levi Jones. 

The resolution recommended in the report, after reciting "that 
it is due to Post Captain E. W. Moore, to have a full, fair and im- 
partial investigation of the charges,'' provides that, as a court- 
martial composed of naval officers cannot be convened, it is made 
the duty of the secretary of war and marine to convene, as soon as 
practicable, a court-martial composed of the major general of the 
militia, at least two brigadier generals, and other officers next high- 
est in rank, who are to constitute a naval court-martial. It 
was passed by Congress, and Houston approved the resolu- 

140 Final Disposition of the Vessels of the Navy. 

tion itself, 1 if not the finding. The court was composed of Major 
General Sidney Sherman, Brigadier General A. Somervell, Briga- 
dier General E. Morehouse, Colonel James Reily, and Colonel 
Thomas Seypert; with Thomas Johnson as judge advocate. The 
trial commenced . August 21, 1844, and closed December 7, 1844; 
and the decision was made public through the press January 11, 
1845. The charges against Moore were willful neglect of duty, 
with six specifications; misapplication of money, embezzlement of 
public property, and fraud, with three specifications; disobedience 
to orders, with six specifications; contempt and defiance of the 
laws and authority of the country, with five specifications; treason, 
with one specification; and murder, with one specification. The 
court found him guilty under four specifications of the charge of 
disobedience, and not guilty of all the other charges. The report 
of the joint naval committee of the two houses of the Eighth Con- 
gress will show that the orders included in the four specifications 
of the third charge were in part conditional, and that the others 
Commodore Moore could not carry out and so reported upon the 
receipt of them. 2 Thus it will be seen that out of twenty-two spec- 
ifications Moore was found not guilty of eighteen, and guilty, but 
in manner and form only, of four. Not guilty was the real verdict 
of the court and of the people, and it was so recorded by the only 
historian 3 that mentions the court-martial proceedings. Houston 
himself considered it a full and complete victory for Moore as evi- 
denced by his vetoing the findings of the court with the statement, 
"The President disapproves the proceedings of the court in toto, 
as he is assured by undoubted evidence, of the guilt of the ac- 
cused in the case of E. W. Moore, late Commander in the Navy." 


When Moore and Lothrop returned on the 14th of July, 1843, 
to Galveston, with the Austin and the Wharton, the Texas navy 
had come to an end so far as active service is concerned. It 

1 Gammel, Laws of Texas, II, 1030. 

'Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess,, 2166; Moore, Doings of the Texas 
Navy, 23. 

3 Thrall, Pictorial History of Texas, 618: "The parties charged were 
honorably acquitted." By using the word "parties" Thrall probably means 
to include Lothrop and Snow; but these, of course, were not tried. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 141 

is true, however, that officers were still on the pay-roll, and if the 
occasion had come for the use of the vessels they could have been 
used with much effect. That the navy was intended to be used of- 
fensively if necessary, may be gathered from the provisions of an 
act approved February 5, 1844, authorizing the secretary of war 
and marine to contract for keeping the navy in ordinary. 1 The 
contract in the case of the ship Austin, the brigs Wharton and 
Archer, and the schooner San Bernard was to continue for one 
year unless those vessels should be required for the public 
service; and in that case the contractor was to be paid according 
to contract. It was further provided that the act approved 16th 
January, 1843, authorizing the sale of the navy, should be re- 

Several writers have stated that the sale of the navy was never 
attempted; they probably gained this impression from the fact 
that the vessels remained in possession of the Republic. But the 
sale was attempted, as the following extract from an interesting 
and undoubtedly true account of it will show: 2 

All kinds of dire threats were made against any nation or indi- 
viduals who should have the temerity to bid on the vessels. As the 
time drew near things waxed to the boiling point, Companies were 
organized and armed for battle to protect the country from the 
outrage to be perpetrated upon it. At last the day of sale ar- 
rived, the city was full of excited people, and Captain Howe was 
on hand with his battalion all in uniform and armed to the teeth. 
At about 11 A. M. an officer of the Eepublic appeared at the place 
of sale and announced the property for sale to the highest bidder. 
The people waited in breathless anxiety and with thumping hearts 
to see who was going to offer to buy. But after a short suspense it 
was knocked off to the Republic of Texas. You can imagine the 
effect of dropping a piece of ice on a white hot iron. The temper- 
ature went down like when a blue norther strikes the country. I 
venture to say; that the warlike spirit of Galveston has never been 
at so high a pitch, nor never been cooled off so suddenly since. 

Lieutenant William A. Tennison was placed in charge of the 
vessels in ordinary and remained so until late in September, 1844, 
when, on account of sickness, lie was relieved of the command, and 

l G*,mmel, Laws of Team, IF. 1027. 

■Emetine Brighton Russell, in Galveston Netos. October 20, 1901. 

142 Final Disposition of the Vessels of the Navy. 

William C. Brashear was commissioned to take charge of them, 
Tennison being directed to report to him. Those who have fol- 
lowed the history of the annexation of Texas to the United States 
can easily understand why the navy was not needed after being 
placed in ordinary. It was because the United States government 
itself undertook the protection of Texas against Mexico from the 
day on which the treaty of annexation was signed, and because, 
just previous to that event it ordered a naval force to the Gulf 
for the purpose. The promise that such action would be taken was 
made by W. S. Murphy, the United States charge in Texas, soon 
after the statute providing that the Texan fleet should be laid up in 
ordinary was passed. 1 The navy of Texas was therefore no longer 
a necessity ; and it was left in ordinary until annexation took place. 
The joint resolution by which annexation was effected provided 
that the Texan navy should be ceded to the United States. The 
transfer was made by Lieutenant William A. Tennison, who was 
then in command of the vessels, and he states that it took place in 
June, 1846. He was left in charge till August, when, finding that 
he was not recognized as an officer of the United States government, 
he turned the vessels over to the care of Midshipman C. J. Faysoux. 2 
The vessels transferred were the ship Austin of twenty guns, the 
brig Wharton of eighteen guns, the brig Archer, eighteen guns, and 
the schooner San Bernard, seven guns. 3 

^yler, Letters and Times of the Tylers, II, 287-288. 

2 Tennison's Journal, folio 394, p. 1. There have been found at Wash- 
ington only three papers relating to the transfer: 1 a list of officers 
of the Texan navy and a statement of pay due them ; 2. an abstract of 
unpaid bills for supplies furnished the navy from February 16, to May 
11, 1846; 3. a muster roll of the officers attached to the navy in ordinary, 
February 16, 1846. 

3 Thrall is in an error when he says, page 340, that the San Jacinto 
was one of the vessels transferred. The San Jacinto was lost in 1840 
( see above, p. 90 ) . He is also in error in stating that the San Bernard 
was destroyed in 1842 in a storm; she was only badly damaged and was 
later repaired. Finally, he is mistaken in saying that the Zavala was 
wrecked in the same storm. She was in bad repair early dn 1842 
and was run ashore on the flats in Galveston harbor to prevent her 
sinking. There she was permitted to lie until the worms made her unfit 
for repairs, when she was broken up and sold in 1844 (Moore, Doings of 
the Texas Navy, 6). Brown, II, 199, copies Thrall's errors. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 143 


When Commodore Moore and Captain Lothrop were discharged 
from the service by President Houston, the officers of the Texas 
navy, with but three exceptions, through sympathy with the dis- 
charged officers, and as an expression of their displeasure, ten- 
dered their resignations. No notice was taken of their action by 
the Department of War and Marine, and they were virtually in the 
situation of officers on leave of absence, without pay or the right 
to engage in any livelihood. 1 When annexation was consummated, 
they fully hoped to be attached to the United States naval estab- 
lishment on the strength of the clause in the treaty of annexation 
providing that Texas, when admitted to the Union, should cede 
to the United States, among other means of defense, her navy. To 
the destruction of all their hopes, the Navy Department at Washing- 
ton interpreted this to include only the vessels, and not the officers. 
Commodore Moore and others of the officers at once prepared a me- 
morial and presented it to the House of Representatives, and it was 
referred to the committee on naval affairs. The committee, after 
carefully investigating their claims, reported a bill for their incor- 
poration into the navy of the United States in comformity with 
the terms of the resolutions of annexation which formed the com- 
pact of union between the United States and Texas. 2 The method 
proposed was to repeal the limitation fixed by the statute of 
August 4, 1842, upon the number of officers and give the president 
authority to appoint the Texan officers to places in the service, with 
the proviso that these extra places should not be continued longer 
than they were held by the incumbents for whom they were spe- 
cially provided. 3 The officers of the United States navy were 
bitterly opposed to this measure and appointed Commanders Buch- 
anan, Dupont, and Magruder to direct their opposition. Their 
position was that the proposed arrangement would have the effect 
of elevating Moore, Tod, and others, who had been only lieuten- 
ants while they were in the United States navy, over those who 

Woore, To the People of Texas, 190, 191. 

''House Reports, 31st Con**., 1st Sess., II (Serial No. 584), Rep., 288. 
"Buchanan, Dupont, and Magruder, In nJat'on to the Claims of the 
Officers of the late Texas Navy, 1. 

144 The Officers of the Texas Navy. 

were at that time their superiors; and of giving still others marked 
promotions without their having undergone due probation service. 
They interpreted the word "navy" in the resolution of annexation 
as meaning vessels only, and not including officers. This interpre- 
tation was in harmony with the opinion of the Supreme Court of 
the United States in the case of one of the Texan officers who had 
endeavored by mandamus to compel Secretary Mason to pay him 
his salary as an officer of the United States navy. 1 In this argu- 
ment Buchanan, Dupont, and Magruder undoubtedly had the better 
of the Texans. But when they attempted to deal with the history 
of the Texas navy their statements are successfully challenged by 
Moore, and their arguments shown to be fallacious. 

Special objections were raised to the appointment of either 
Moore or John G. Tod as an officer of the United States navy. A 
bitter fight was made against Moore on the ground that his dis- 
missal from service by President Houston barred him from any 
participation in the benefits of the bill, even if it should be 
passed. In the midst of the controversy, a pamphlet containing, 
among other documents prejudicial to Moore, a copy of the mes- 
sage of President Jones vetoing a bill to return to him a portion of 
the money he had advanced for the use of the Texas navy. on the 
ground that he was a defaulter, appeared in Washington. The 
publication and circulation of this pamphlet Moore attributed to 
Houston, 2 and in answer he wrote his Doings of the Texas Navy. 
In reply to the denial of his status as an officer of the Texas navy 
at the time of annexation, and to the charge of being a defaulter, 
Moore adduced the resolution of the Senate of Texas adopted June 
28, 1845, declaring that his trial by court-martial was "final and 
conclusive"; 3 and two resolutions by the House adopted the same 
day, one of which declared that the finding of the court fully en- 
titled him to continue in his place as commander of the Texas navy, 
and the other that the thanks of the Eepublic were justly due him 
and those under his command in its service. 4 

As to Tod, the United States naval commanders thought he was 

x Brashear vs. Mason, 6 Howard, 92, 99, 100. 
2 Doings of the Teanas Navy. 3, 32. 
s 8enate Journal, 9th Tex. Cong., 2d Sess., 75. 
*House Journal, 9th Tex. Cong., 2d Sess., 86. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 145 

not justly entitled to be included in the list of officers connected 
with the Texas navy at the time of annexation, inasmuch as his 
commission as captain in the navy of Texas from June, 1840, was 
made out after the United States flag was flying over the Capitol 
building in Texas. Tod was given his rank by President Anson 
Jones, who was a bitter enemy of Commodore Moore. Jones in- 
terpreted Houston's act dismissing Moore as final and appointed 
Tod to take his place; and the United States officers claimed that, 
as Tod had never been confirmed by the Senate, his commission 
was a nullity. In order fairly to present Captain Tod's position, it 
is necessary briefly to recount some facts of his career. 1 It will be 
recalled that Moore had charged Tod with negligence when acting 
as agent, in allowing poor wood to be used in the construction of 
the Austin. Tod evidently sought redress at the hands of the 
Texas Congress, for shortly afterwards we find, upon the petition 
of Captain John G. Tod, a concurrent resolution introduced and 
passed thanking Tod for "his faithful and important services ren- 
dered to the country," and requesting the president to order a copy 
of the resolution to be read at the navy yard, on board each public 
vessel in commission, in the presence of officers and crew, and to be 
entered upon their log books. The president promptly sent a mes- 
sage vetoing the joint resolution of thanks to Tod ; but the resolu- 
tion was reconsidered January 31, 1842, and passed over his veto. 2 
There is nothing to show whether or not Moore had to swallow this 
bitter pill. Captain Tod served Texas as a naval officer until 1842, 
when, at his own suggestion, in order to curtail the expenses of the 
government, he yielded his position. In later years when the 
Texan officers received back pay, Captain Tod was denied the ben- 
efits of the arrangement, the secretary of the navy insisting that 
his commission was void. Texans, however, would not admit the 
point, claiming that annexation was not fully consummated until 
the Republic of Texas yielded its power and authority to the State 
of Texas, which took place on February 19, 1846. Repeated reso- 
lutions of thanks and endorsements from the Texas Congress show 
in what high esteem Captain Tod was held in Texas; and at the 
request of the Texas senators and representatives Tod was at last 

'Sec above, pp. 74-77, 99. 

'Senate Journal, 6th Tex. Cong., 138, 139, 195, 108. 

146 The Officers of the Texas Navy. 

paid equally with the other officers connected with the Texas navy 
at the time of annexation. 1 He died in 1878. 

The efforts made during the years 1847 to 1850 to get any favor- 
able action from the government of the United States toward 
Texas naval officers ended in failure. In 1852 the endeavor was 
renewed; a joint resolution was passed by the Texas Legislature 
once more instructing the Senators and requesting the Kepresenta- 
tives to use their influence to procure the incorporation of the 
officers into the navy of the United States reciting that "they are 
justly entitled to the same, as well from the construction of the 
terms . . . [of the treaty], as from their high characters, per- 
sonal and professional, and the zeal, fidelity, patriotism, and valor 
with which they sustained the cause of this country during her 
struggle for Independence." 2 This effort came near being success- 
ful, but like the others it finally failed. It was not until 1857 that 
the few remaining Texan officers received any recognition from the 
government. The twelfth section of an act approved March 3, that 
year, 3 reads as follows: 

And be it further enacted, That the surviving officers of the navy 
of the Republic of Texas, who were duly commissioned as such at 
the time of annexation, shall be entitled to the pay of officers of 
the like grades, when waiting orders, in the Navy of the United 
States, for five years from the time of said annexation, and a sum 
sufficient to make the payment is hereby appropriated . . . ; 
Provided, That the acceptance of the provisions of this act by any 
of the said officers shall be a full relinquishment and renunciation 
of all claim on his part, to any further compensation on this behalf 
from the United States Government, and to any position in the 
Navy of the United States. 

The survivors benefited by this act 4 were E. W. Moore, commo- 
dore; Alfred G. Gray, Cyrus Cummings, William A. Tennison, 

KJammel, Laws of Texas, VI. 1063; House Reports, 46th Cong., 2d 
Sess., IV. 

^ammel, Laios of Texas, III, 1005; Cong. Globe, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., 

5 Gong. Globe, 34th Cong., 3d Sess., App. 427. 

*The list of beneficiaries is taken from Tennison's Journal, folio 296, 
p. 4. I can find no list elsewhere. While this is not dated, it reads: 
"Officers who received pay from the U. S. Gov't," and could only apply 
to this act. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 147 

Charles B. Snow, and William Oliver, lieutenants; John F. 
Stephens and Norman Hurd, pursers; and the widow of Lieuten- 
ant A. J. Lewis. To this list must be added the name of Captain 
Tod, whose pay was turned over to his estate in 1883. Another 
claimant put in his appearance in 1858. This was Commander P. 
W. Humphries, 1 who was recognized by the Texas Legislature as 
entitled to the rank of commander in the navy of the Republic from 
July 3, 1839, to the date of annexation and entitled to pay the same 
as other officers. The midshipmen were barred by the secretary of 
the navy, and today the only survivor, so far as I know, George F. 
Fuller, of Ozone Park, New Jersey, is prosecuting his claim under 
the act of 1857. 

It is a pleasure to note the kindly deed of the United States in 
thus assisting the former naval officers of Texas, who were almost 
without exception ill used by Texas, or rather by those in power 
in Texas. It must be acknowledged, however, that as a matter of 
right they had not the shadow of a claim against the United States. 
Even if the interpretation of the word "navy" in the resolution of 
annexation were construed to include the naval officers, the navy 
had been practically disbanded when Moore returned from Yucatan, 
and the officers sent, in their resignations. That they should take 
advantage of annexation to put in a claim was natural; but the 
officers of the United States navy were right in opposing their ad- 
mission, and Congress was generous when it allowed them five 
years' pay. 

Below is a list of the officers of the second navy of Texas, which 
was furnished on application of Commodore E. W. Moore by Adju- 
tant General C. L. Mann. Their appointments were confirmed by 
the Senate on July 20, 1842. and by order of George W. Hockley, 
secretary of war and marine, they were to take rank as their names 
appeared in the list. The dates of their commissions are given, 
and it is stated whether they were dead or alive on July 31, 1850. 
It will be noted that over half of them died within the short period 
of eight years. 

Edwin Ward Moore, Post Captain, Commanding 

April 21, 1839, Alive 

■Cainincl. Laws of Texas, IV, 1152. 

148 The Officers of the Texas Navy. 

J. T. K. Lothrop, Commander July 10, 1839, Dead 

D. H. Crisp, Lieutenant Nov. 10, 1839, Dead 

Wm. C. Brashear, First Lieutenant .Jan. 10, 1840, Dead 

William Seeger, Second Lieutenant ,..,.. .Jan. 10, 1840, Dead 

Alfred G. Gray, Third Lieutenant Jan. 10, 1840, Alive 

A. J. Lewis, Fourth Lieutenant Jan. 10, 1840, Alive 

J. P. Lansing, Fifth Lieutenant Jan. 10, 1840, Dead 

George C. Bunner, Lieutenant .Jan. 10, 1840, Dead 

A. A. Waite, First Lieutenant Sept. 10, 1840, Dead 

William A. Tennison, Second Lieutenant Sept. 10, 1840, Alive 

William Oliver, Third Lieutenant , Sept. 10, 1840, Alive 

Cyrus Cummings, Fourth Lieutenant Sept. 10, 1840, Alive 

C. B. Snow, Lieutenant Mar. 10, 1842, Alive 

D. C. Wilbur, Lieutenant June 1, 1842, Dead 

M. H. Dearborn, Lieutenant July 1, 1842, Dead 

R. M. Clark, Surgeon Nov. 22, 1840, Dead 

Thomas P. Anderson, Surgeon Sept. 10, 1841, Dead 

J. B. Gardner, Surgeon .July 20, 1842, Alive 

Norman Hurd, Purser Jan. 16, 1839, Alive 

F. T. Wells, Purser June 10, 1839, Dead 

J. F. Stephens, Purser , Sept. 21, 1841, Alive 

W. T. Brennan, Purser July 21, 1842, Dead 

On Brennan's death, James W. Moore was appointed to take his 
place. In the list of those officers who petitioned Congress to be 
incorporated in the United States navy, appears the name of Wil- 
liam E. Glenn, 1 "late master of the line of promotion." This care- 
fully prepared list, added to the names mentioned in the body of 
the work, constitutes the personnel of the body of officers of the 
Texan navy. 

A few additional notes regarding some of these may be of in- 

x In Fuller's "Sketch of the Texas Navy" (The Quarterly, VII, 223, 
226), this name appears as "Wm. H. Glenn." Fuller also includes Robert 
Bradford and Edward Mason as midshipmen on board the Austin in 1842 
and 1843 and Middleton on board the Wharton, and mentions that Dr. 
Peacock acted as assistant surgeon to Dr. Anderson of the Austin. He 
also states that in Walker's time, Faysoux commanded the whole Nica- 
raguan navy, consisting of one schooner with which he blew up the whole 
Costa Rican navy, consisting of one brig. Faysoux was afterwards mate 
of the Creole in its Cuban expedition, his commanding officer being Lewis, 
formerly third lieutenant of the Wharton. 

The Navy of the Republic of Texas. 149 

terest. William Seeger was commander of the San Antonio when 
she was lost. A. J. Lewis died some time in the fifties. William 
A. Tennison was alive in 1858. Thomas P. Anderson, surgeon, 
had a son, Philip Anderson, who was living in Galveston in 1900. 
Mrs. E. W. Shaw of Galveston is a granddaughter of Norman 
Hurd. The midshipmen, being boys at the same time, have natu- 
rally been the last survivors. Of these Major John E. Barrow died 
in New York in 1902; W. J. D. Pierpont died in December, 1903. 
Of all the officers of the Texas navy, but one is alive today, Mid- 
shipman George F. Puller, of Ozone Park, New Jersey. Com- 
mander Lothrop died in 1844 at Houston. Just before his death 
he took command of the steamship Neptune, running between New 
Orleans and Texas. But one name remains, and the tale is closed. 
Edwin Ward Moore finally procured from the Texas Legislature 
the passage of three acts providing that he should be paid for his 
services and reimbursed for his expenditures on the navy. It ap- 
pears that by joint resolution approved by the governor January 
24, 1848, 1 $11,398.36^ was allowed him. February 23, he 
was allowed a claim of three thousand five hundred dollars for 
commanding the navy. 2 Finally on February 2, 1856, was passed an 
act for his relief, 3 by which the treasurer was authorized to pay him 
$5,290.00, "Provided the said Moore shall first file with the treas- 
urer a full and final release against the Republic and State of Texas 
for all demands/' It has been asserted that, he never received these 
moneys granted him by Texas. He at any rate received the com- 
pliment of having a county named for him in the state. Very little 
is known of him after 1837, but he made New York his home. He 
came to Galveston in 1860 and erected the old post-office building 
in that city. He took no part in the Civil War, and died in Vir- 
ginia in 1865. 

There is no question that Commodore Moore should be classed 
as one of the heroes of Texas ; and this narrative may fitly be closed 
with the tribute paid him by the foremost officer of the Confederate 
iiiiw :* 

: Gammel, Laws of Texas, III, 334-335. 

2 /bid., 351. 

'Ibid., IV, 371. 

'Semmes, Service \jhxd and Ashore During the Mexican War, 49. 

150 The Officers of the Texas Navy. 

"With an energy and ability possessed by but few men, he took 
hold of the discordant materials which Texas was collecting for the 
formation of a navy (a work, generally, of time and much patient 
toil), reduced them to system and order, and presented to the 
world the spectacle of a well-organized marine, bearing the flag of 
a Republic, not four years old ! 



Abispa. Mexican vessel, 49, 50. 

Admiralty, Court of, 57. 

Adventure, Mexican ship, 54. 

Allen, A. C, 8, 10, 45. 

Allen, John M., Captain of Terrible, 26, 27, 135. 

Anaya, General of Yucatan, 84, 85, 90. 

Anderson, T. P., Dr., 83, 109, 148, 149. 

Andrews, Edmund, 25. 

Arcamble, C. S., Midshipman, 83. 

Archer, Branch T., Dr., 7, 8, 47, 77. 

Archer, Brig, 75, 84, 121, 142. 

Asp, Texas vessel, 77. 

Auld, Joseph, Ship's Carpenter, 83. 

Austin, Henry, 45. 

Austin, Stephen F., 2, 8, 77. 

Austin, Flagship, 76, 83, 84, 98, 99, 100, 108, 116, 128, 
129, 142. 

Bache, R. Clerk, 83. 

Baker, J. H., Lieutenant, 83. 

Barker, Eugene C, 18, 82. 

Barnett, Thomas, 23. 

Barrett, D. C, 10, 11, 16, 33, 45. 

Barrow, J. E., Midshipman, 83, 149. 

Barton, Seth, 44, 45. 

Bartlett, Dr., 48. 

Baudin, Charles, Admiral French Fleet, 70. 

Beatty, G., Engineer, 83. 

Bee, Barnard E., Santa Anna's letter to, 1 13. 

Bennett, L. E., 83. 

Bernard, J. B. F., Midshipman, 83. 

Betts, C, Midshipman, 83. 

Bibliography. Authorities. See Preface. 

Blockade of Matamoros, 58; of Mexican ports by French, 70; 
Mexico declares Texas ports blockaded, 82, 92; Mexican 
ports declared blockaded by Texas, 112, 116, 117. 

Boston, U. S. ship, 26, 78. 

Boylan, James D., Captain of Brutus, 49, 51, 54. 

Bradburn, W. P., 55, 60. 

Brashear, W. C, 83, 136, 142, 148. 

Bravo, Mexican war vessel, 20, 25; Thomas Thompsan, Cap- 
tain of, 63. 

Brazos, 69, 77, Brig of war. 

Brennan, William Thomas, 56, 60, 65, 148. 

Brewster. W. H., 83. 

Bronough, J. C, 83. 

Brooks, Lieutenant of Marines, 42. 

Brown, Jeremiah, Captain Invincible, 37, 42. 

Brown, John W., Boatswain, 5, 81, 83. 

Brown, William S., Captain Liberty, 39, 40, 41; Captain of 

Invincible, 57. 
Brutus, Captures Correo, 9, 31, 32, 36, 38, 39, 46, 48, 55. 
Bryan, William, 8, 38; Agent, 45; Commissioner, 124, 136. 
Bunner, G. C, Lieutenant, 83, 148. 
Burnet, David G., President, 30, 47, 52, 57, 108. 
Burnley, Loan Commissioner, 67, 72. 
Burns, Aaron, Lieutenant of Sloop Opie, 30. 
Burton, Isaac Mayor, 47. 
Bustamente, President of Mexico, 64. 
Bynum, W. H., 8. 
Calder, Roebrt J., Col., 30, 57. 
Carleton, H., U. S. District Attorney, 6, 7, 38. 
Carson, Samuel P., 36. 
Cassin, Robert, Lieutenant, 60. 
Cayuga, Steamboat, 37, 
Champion, 32. 

Charlestown, Steam Packet, 71, 74. 
Chott, S., 72. 
Christman, C. A., 83. 
Clark, J., Captain, 84. 
Clark, R. M., Dr., 83, 89, 148. 
Clements, R. H., 83. 
Cochran, Richard, Dr., 60. 
Collingsworth, James, 58. 
Colorado, Brig, 75. 
Comanche, Mexican transport, 46. 
Conrad, Edward, 45. 
Consultation of Texas, 9. 
Cook, William G., 29, 79, 128. 
Cooke, Louis P., Sec'ty. Texas Navy, 87. 
Correo, Mexicano, 1-9; captured, 54. 
Correo, becomes Texan vessel, 37. 
Cos, General, 2, 58. 
Cox, C. C, Midshipman, 83, 92. 

Crisp, D. H., Lieutenant, 83, 97; Captain, 102, 105, 117, 
120, 148. 

Crosby, Thomas, Lieutenant Marines, 56, 60. 
Crout, James, Boatswain, 83. 
Culp, F. R., Midshipman, killed in duel, 118. 
Cummings, C, 83, 109, 146, 148. 
Dallas, Commodore, 44, 52. 
Damon, John, Lieutenant, 51. 
Darocher, Captain, 60. 

Davis, Osky, Lieutenant, 51. 

Davis, Mexican Captain, 63. 

Dawson, Frederick, 72, 75. 

Dearborne, M. H., 83, 108, 148. 

Dearing, Lieutenant, 51. 

De Kalb, Trading Schooner, 27. 

Dinsmore, Silas, 16. 

Dinsmore, T. S., Jr., 16. 

Doloritas, Mexican schooner captured, 105. 

Dolphin, 76, 84; becomes the Wharton later. 

Dorey, Fletcher, Dr., 83. 

Dos Amigos, captured, 105. 

Dunn, Dr., 42. 

Eagle, Mexican vessel, 130. 

Eliza Russell, 49. 

Ellis, Samuel, 45. 

Errors of Historians: Edward, footnote 2; Pennybacker, foot- 
note 2; Yoakum, footnote 6; Political Science Quarterly, 
footnote 18; Yoakum, 42; Texas Almanac, 42; Bancroft, 
73; Brown, 75; Morphis, 75; Yoakum, 75; University 
of Texas Record, 82; Brown, 84; Thrall, 84; Brown, 
92; University of Texas Record, 92; Yoakum, 102; 
Thrall, 102; Bancroft, 103; Brown and Thrall, footnote 

Estis, G. W., Lieutenant, 51, 60, 63, 83. 

Everett, S. H., 36. 

Falvel, Luke A., Captain of Flash, 29, 31. 

Fannin, J. W., Jr., Col., 3; letter of, footnote 5; footnote 21, 
note 24. 

Fanny Butler, Mexican transport, 46. 

Faysoux, C. J., Midshipman, 142; footnote 148. 

Finances of Navy, 20, 32, 38, 66-73, 79, 113, 116, 118, 123. 

Fisher, S. Rhodes, 4, 20-24, 36, 45, 48-50, 64. 

Flag, Navy of 1835, 16, 43. 

Flash, the privateer, 29-31. 

Flora, 32, 41. 

Florentine, Mexican schooner captured, 89. 

Foster, Robert, 42. 

Franklin, Benjamin C, 57. 

Franson, Fred, 42. 

Fuller, Charles, Lieutenant, killed in mutiny, 108. 

Fuller, George F., 78, 83, 101, 147, 149. 

Galligher, Lieutenant, 51, 55, 56. 

Galveston, Artillery Company, 29. 

Galveston, Brig, 75. 

Galveston threatened with invasion, 128. 

Galveston honors Com. E. W. Moore, 135. 

Gardiner. J. B., Dr., 83, 148. 

Garlick, H. (S.), Midshipman, 83. 

Gazley, 37. 

General Council, 10. 

Gibson, F. M., Capt., Marines, 42. 

Gilmer, Commissioner of Loan, 42. 

Goldborough, Hugh A., 83. 

Gray, A. G., Lieut., 83, 98, 99, 109, 146, 148. 

Grayson, Captain, Lieutenant of San Felipe, 5 ; Captain of 

Oceon, 31; Captain of Yellowstone, 32. 
Grayson, Peter W., 58, 68. 
Green, Thomas Jeff., 38, 45, 46. 
Guadalupe, Mexican steamer, 129. 
Gyles, Robert, 55, 60. 
Hall, Edward, 5; footnote 20, 38, 45. 
Hamilton, General, 71. 

Hamilton, M. C, Acting Secretary War and Marine, 117, 116. 
Hannah, Elizabeth, 20-24. 
Harby, L. C, Captain Brutus, 51. 
Hardeman, Bailey, Secretary of State, 30. 
Harrington, E. B., 55, 60. 
Harris, William P., 25; Captain Cayuga, 37. 
Hartman, J. A., Midshipman, 83. 
Hastings, Libel, Lieutenant, 51. 

Hawkins, Charles E., Captain Independence, 37, 41, 55, 60. 
Henderson, George, Lieutenant, 83. 
Hill, Joseph, 56, 60. 
Hill, W. G., 74, 111, 124. 
Hinton, A. C, 69, 79, 80. 
Hitchcock, L. M., Lieut., 51, 65, 68. 
Hockley, G. W., Col., 93, 101, 107, 111, 113. 
Holford, James, 71. 
Hornsby, Henry, Lieut., 42. 
Houston, A., 11. 
Houston, Samuel, President, 17, 40, 41, 47, 49, 51, 54, 58, 

65, 66, 74, 94, 99, 101, 104, 106, 112, 113, 116, 134. 
Houston, 77. 
Howard, G., gunner, 83. 
Howes, Elijah, 43. 

Hoyt, Captain of Terrible, 27; Lieutenant of Brutus. 
Hubbell, H. A. 

Humphreys, P. W., Lieut., 42, 147. 
Hunt, Randall, Esq., 7, 9, 45. 
Hunter, William L., 139. 
Hurd, Norman, 51, 83, 98, 122, 147, 148. 
Hurd, William A., Commands San Felipe, 4, 5; Commands 

the William Robbins, 20-22, 24; Captain Brutus, 37, 

51, 56. 
Independence, The, 32, 37-39, 53, 55-65. 

Invincible, The, 25, 32-39, 42-51. 

Jacskon, O. P., 45. 

Jackson, Thomas R., 36. 

Johnson, F., Lieut., 42. 

Johnson, J. W., 139. 

Johnson, Thomas, Judge Advocate, 140. 

Jones, Anson, President, 99. 

Jones, Levi, 76, 139. 

Julius Caesar, Captains Moore and Lightburn, 32. 

Kelton, O. P., Dr., 42. 

Kendrick, H., 139. 

Kennedy, E. P., Lieut., 83. 

Kerr, Peter, 21, 24. 

Lacy, Lieut., 51. 

Lamar, Mirabeau B., President, 70, 79, 82, 84, 93-104. 

Lansing, J. P., Lieut., 109, 148. 

Laura, steamboat, footnote 5. 

Leay, C, 83. 

Lee, Randolph, Lieut., 42. 

Letters of Marque and Reprisal, 9-20, 65. 

Leving, William H., Lieut., 42. 

Leving, Purser, 55. 

Levy, A. M., Dr., 51, 55, 60, 64. 

Lewis, Ira R., 16, 20. 

Lewis, Irvine A., Lieut., 83, 85, 97, 147-149. 

Liberty, The, 25, 26, 32, 37-41. 

Libertador, Mexican Brig, 51, 62. 

Lightburn, Captain of Julius Caesar, 32. 

Lipscomb, A. S., Secretary of State, 86. 

Littlejohn, E. G., footnote 37. 

Little, Pen, The, 49. 

Lloyd, Daniel, 42, 83. 

Logan, Lieut, 42. 

Logan, W. G., 8. 

Long, Secretary of U. S. Navy, 27. 

Lopez, Commodore Mexican Navy, 63. 

Lothrop, J. T. K., Captain, 56, 60, 83, 109, 113, 125, 130, 

136, 148, 149. 
Love, James, 76. 
Lubbock, Thomas, 105, 107. 
Mabry, James L., Midshipman, 87. 
Marines, 36, 37, 51, 56, 83. 
Marion, George, 55, 60. 
Marstclla, Captain of Flash, 29-31. 
Matilda, Mexican sloop captured, 27. 
Maury, W. T., Purser, 83. 
McCormick, Michael, express rider, 30. 
McFarlane, W. W.. 83. 

McKinney, Thomas F., 4, 5, 11, 16, 20, 25, 33, 38, 76. 

McLeod, Col., 103. 

Melius, James, Lieut., 42, 55, 56. 

Menard, M. B., 76. 

Menard, P. J., 76. 

Mendez, Governor of Yucatan, 85. 

Merchant, Texas vessel, 77 . 

Mexican naval vessels, 129-131. 

Minor, L. M., Midshipman, 83. 

Montezuma, Mexican schooner, 11, 20, 33, 42. 

Montezuma, Mexican steamer, 122, 128. 

Moore, Captain of Julius Caesar, 32. 

Moore, Alex., Lieut., 83, 84. 

Moore, Edwin Ward, Commodore, 78-150. 

Moore, James W., Purser, 83, 84, 148. 

Morgan, James, footnote 37; Commissioner, 136. 

Mutiny on San Antonio, 107-111. 

Navy Affairs Committees, 12, 14. 

Navy, Organization of First, 9-20; end of, 65. 

Navy, Necessity of, 66. 

Navy Yard at Galveston, 65, 69. 

Navy, Reason why not active in 1840, 82. 

Navy Vessels and Officers in June, 1840, 83. 

Navy Fights and Captures; 

San Felips captures Correo, 5; Bravo and Hannah Eliza- 
abeth, 20-22; Thomas Toby makes capture, 28; Liberty 
captures Pelicano, 40; capture of Bravo, 42; Invincible 
captures Pocket, 43; Watchman, Fanny Butler and Co- 
manche captured, 47; Eliza Russel and Abispa captured, 
49; Invincible fights two Mexican vessels, 51 ; Brutus cap- 
tures rich prize, 53; Union, Adventure and Telegraph, 
Mexican schooners, captured by Brutus and Invincible, 54; 
Correo and Raefaelita, Mexican vessels, captured by Bru- 
tus and Invincible, 54; Mexican vessels destroyed, 55; 
Independence fights Urrea and Bravo, 56; Independence 
captured by Mexicans, 60-63; Austin captures Florentine 
and Elizabeth, 89; Tobasco captured by Texan Navy, 
91, 92; Mexican schooner captured at Vera Cruz, 92; 
Progresso captured by Austin, 99-100; Mexican schooner 
Doloritas captured, 105; capture of Mexican schooner Dos 
Amigos, 105; Austin and Wharton engage Mexican Navy, 
off Yucatan April 30 and May 16, 1843, 129-132. 

Navy, Second, measures to procure, 66. 

Navy, act to lay in ordinary, 80. 

Navy vessels disposed of, 140. 

Navy officers, sketch of, 143-150. 

Negroes, importation of to Texas, 3, 4. 

Newcomb, Lieut., 42. 

O'Campo, Lieut., 6. 

O'Conner, James, 40. 

Oceon, steamboat, 31. 

Oceon Queen, 31, 46. 

Officers Texas Navy, sketch of, 83, 143-150. 

Oliver, Robert, Purser, 83; Captain dies, 118. 

Oliver, William, 83, 147, 148. 

Opie, sloop, 30. 

Parker, J. O., Midshipman, 83. 

Parker, J. W. C, Captain, Marines, 83. 

Pease, E. M., Secretary of Council, footnote 15. 

Pelicano, Mexican trading schooner, 39. 

Peraza, Martin F., Col., Yucatan Commissioner, 94-107, 123. 

Perry, James, Lieut., 42. 

Pierpont, W. J. D., Midshipman, 149. 

Pocket, The, 43. 

Postell, W. R., Lieut., 83, 86. 

Potomac, The, 65, 68, 69, 75, 84. 

Potter, Robert, 16, 29, 30, 36. 

Power, James, 45. 

Privateers, 13. 

Progresso, Mexican schooner captured, 99-100, 111. 

Pulaski, steamship, 68. 

Raefaelita, Mexican, 54. 

Randolph, Lieutenant of Terrible, 26. 

Reiley, James, Col., 140. 

Regeneradoe, Mexican, 130. 

Richardson, William, Dr., 98. 

Riley, Henry, 5 1. 

Roberts, Samuel A., Secretary of State, 94. 

Robertson, Arthur, Captain Marines, 37, 51. 

Robertson, James G., 23. 

Robinson, James W., Lieutenant Governor, 9, 35, 39. 

Royall, R. R., 6, 22, 23. 

Rugeley, John, 139. 

Runaway scrape, 29. 

Rusk, General T. J., 46. 

Salter, John, 83. 

San Antonio, schooner, 75, 79, 83, 84, 93, 97, 98, 104. 107, 

119, 121. 
San Bernard, schooner, 75, 83, 84-86, 90, 97-100, 104, 107. 

117-120, 137, 142. 
San Felipe, The, 1-9, 20. 
San Jacinto, Battle, 30, 57. 
San Jacinto, schooner, 75, 83, 84, 86, 90. 
San Jacinto cannon, 64. 

Santa Anna, Mexican President. 30, 31, 44, 46, 58, 70, 106. 
Santa Fe Expedition, 103, 104. 

Schofield, Hugh, 83. 

Scott, J., 8. 

Seeger, William, Lieut., 83, 98; Captain, 115, 148. 

Sever, James, Lieut., 42. 

Seypert, Thomas, Col., 140. 

Shaughnessey, J. O., Lieut., 83. 

Shepherd, William ., Secretary Navy, 67. 

Sherman, Sidney, Major General, 140. 

Smith, Benjamin F., 16. 

Smith, Boatswain, 42. 

Smith, Henry, Governor, 9, 1 1 ; footnote 21, 22, 23, 33-35, 60 

Smith, L. H., Midshipman, 83. 

Smith, William, Ship's Carpenter, 83. 

Snow, C. B., 83, 136, 146, 148. 

Somers, captures Mexicans, 22. 

Somervell, A., Brigadier General, 140. 

Stephens, J. F., 83, 147, 148. 

Sterne, Adolphus, 8. 

Stewart, C. B., Secretary to Executive, 15. 

Stoneall, John P., Midshipman, 83. 

Stuart, Ben C, 29, 31, 83. 

Suares, Captain of Thomas Toby, 29. 

Survey of Texas Coast by Com. Moore, 93. 

Swartwont, Samuel, Hon., 47, 53. 

Sweet, T. W., Lieut., 83. 

Taylor, J. W,. Lieut., 56, 60; commands Independence, 61. 

Taylor, T. A., Captain San Bernard, 90. 

Telegraph, Mexican, 54. 

Tennison, William A., Lieut., 27, 55, 60, 69, 83, 100, 136, 

141, 146-149. 
Tenorio, Captain, 1. 
Terrible, Privateer, 26, 27, 59. 
Texas, The, 77. 

Thomas Toby, Priavteer, 27-29. 
Thomas, Col., Secretary Treasury, 30. 
Thompson, Alex., hydrographer, 65. 
Thompson, Henry L., Captain Invincible, 42, 48, 50, 54. 
Thompson, Thomas M., Captain, 2, 3, 6, 54, 63, 64. 
Tobasco captured, 92. 
Toby, Thomas, Texas Agent, 29. 
Tod, John G., Captain, 74-77, 99, 143-146. 
Travis, William B., 1. 

Treat, Commissioner of Texas to Mexico, 38, 86, 90, 91. 
Trinity, sloop, 75. 
Tucker, J. J., 83. 

Twin Sisters, the San Jacinto Cannon, 30. 
Ugartechea, Colonel, 2. 
Underhill, C. B., 83. 

Union, schooner, 31; Mexican schooner, 54. 

Urrea, Mexican, 56. 

Vencedor del Alamo, Mexican Brig of War, 31, 46, 51, 62. 

Vera Cruzana, Mexican war vessel, 11. 

Waite, Alfred A., 42, 148. 

Walke, Alfred, Midshipman, footnote 129. 

Walker, A., Midshipman, 83. No doubt same as A. Walke. 

Waller, 37. 

Ward, F., Lieut., Marines, 42. 

Warren, U. S. sloop, 44. 

Watchman, Mexican transport, 46. 

Webb, Judge, Commissioner to Mexico, 92, 139. 

Wells, E. F. (T.), 42, 83; Purser, 122, 148. 

Westren, T. G., 45. 

Wezman, E. A., 83. 

Wharton, John A., 17, 65, 68, 77. 

Wharton, The, brig, 76, 83; formerly Dolphin, 84, 86, 107, 

113, 128, 142. 
Wheeler, James H., Midshipman, 83. 
Wheelright, George W., Captain, 37, 39, 54, 56, 60, 62, 

64, 83. 
White, George R., Midshipman, 118. 
Whiting, Samuel, Major, 15, 16. 
Whitmore, Midshipman, 60. 
Whitney, 72. 

Wilbur (D.), T. C, Lieut., 109, 148. 
William Robbins, privateer, 5, 16, 20-26. 
Williams, Samuel M., 4, 11, 45, 68, 71-73; note 124. 
Williamson, William S., Lieut., 69, 83. 
Wilson, R., 45. 
Wood, Thomas, Jr., Lieut., 83. 
Wright, Frank B., Lieut., 56. 
Yates, A. J., 8. 
Yellow Stone, 32, 58. 
Yucatan Alliance, 92-107. 
Yucatan Expedition, 1840-41, 92. 
Yucatan Official Alliance, 93, 94-107, 123. 
Yucatan Naval Force, 85. 
Yucatan, revolt of, 81, 84, 85, 98. 
Zavala, Lorenzo de, 30, 37. 
Zavala. The. 71. 75. 77. 79, 80, 83-87. 89-91. 106. 115. 

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